ARGYLE Ladies finally got to play their Devon Women’s Senior Cup Semi Final against rivals Exeter City...
...and despite some late scares, the Pilgrims held on to win 3-2 and book their place in the final, where they will meet Marine Academy Ladies at Devon FA HQ on Thursday, April 14
After three postponements, the game was switched to the 3G at Tavistock College and, having not played for nearly a month, both teams were edgy at the start.
Exeter seemed to settle the quicker with Helen Kukor hitting a low shot against the post in the 4th minute but from their first real meaningful attack Argyle took the lead six minutes later, with Ezme Wells, playing in a less familiar left sided position, cutting inside and firing into the top corner.
Boosted by the goal, Argyle began to dominate proceedings and increased their lead in the 27th minute when Dani Salt was fouled inside the box. Katie Middleton dispatched the resulting penalty high into the roof of the net.
Wells had been a constant threat for Argyle throughout the first half and she added a third for the Greens in the 42nd minute when she again cut in from the left and her rasping drive was spilled over the line by Exeter keeper Abigail Bond.
If Argyle thought that at 3-0 to the good going into the break the game was won, they were in for a surprise as Exeter struck back within three minutes of the restart. The impressive Vicky Barter rose unchallenged to head home a Kirsty Caunter corner and give the visitors a lifeline.
With the hint of a comeback on the cards, the pressure on Argyle began to increase but in truth they had two great chances to restore their three goal cushion but Amber Pollock and Mollie Taylor both fired wide when well placed.
Exeter pulled another goal back in the 75th minute when Kirsty Caunter’s deep corner caught the wind and went straight in at the far post.
This set up a tense final 15 minutes, which seemed so unlikely at half time, but as both teams tired in the closing stages Argyle’s back line held firm to see the game out and secure their place in the final.
At the final whistle Argyle manager Kevin Taylor was at first relieved and then delighted for his players, who have had a tough time in the Premier League but now have a cup final to look forward to in April.
He said: "It’s been a difficult six months in the League with the threat of relegation hanging over us and some heavy defeats before the unscheduled break due to the weather; so to get this game won, we’ve got something to look forward to and hopefully we can take the confidence from this result into our final 8 league games.
"Argyle Ladies are usually nailed on favourites for the Devon Cup but having not won it for the past two years, I know the girls have been desperate to redress the balance this season. Marine Academy are sure to give us a really stiff test, but first we have to put any thoughts of the Final to one side and concentrate on picking up some vital League points in the coming weeks."