ARGYLE Ladies overcame an early deficit to comfortably control this latest pre-season friendly, played at their new home of the Manadon Sports Hub.
Argyle went into the game with 12 players and Helen Bleazard taking a right-back role, which allowed flying teenager Beth Everson to show her talents on the right wing. Ellie Bishop also partnered the returning Kayley Lane and Becky Dandridge, and showed up well.
Argyle’s first chance went to Natasha Knapman who shot narrowly wide. The Pilgrims were then caught on the break when Bristol City launched a quick counter attack, which resulted in them taking a 14th-minute lead.
New goalkeeper Becky Kyle saved down low to keep the score at 1-0 and Bleazard set up Knapman who shot wide. Argyle eventually got back into the game seven minutes later when a Kayley Lane cross saw Bleazard stoop low to head in the equaliser.
Argyle were now looking sharper with Ellie Bishop having her low effort saved. City still looked dangerous on the break with Kyle saving down low. Argyle reacted quickly and within three minutes a Bleazard cross was headed in by the unmarked Knapman to take the lead.
The Pilgrims had a narrow escape when a free-kick came back off the crossbar, with Kyle grabbing the rebound. Argyle continued to dominate but they had to wait until three minutes before half time to make it 3-1, when another great cross from Bleazard was met by the head of Knapman, who scored in off the near-post. It was 4-1 almost on half-time, when another Bleazard free-kick was headed into the net by Kayley Lane.
Argyle started the second half in a hurry and Lane saw her shot from distance slam back off the crossbar, with Knapman unable to sort out her feet in trying to make contact. Four minutes into the half and Argyle should have increased their lead but Kate Middleton saw her low penalty-kick well saved.
The next goal was not too long in coming, when, seven minutes into the half, the impressive Iverson shock off her defender before looking up to find the onrushing Bishop, who made no mistake.
Knapman then had a good shot well saved before winning a free-kick five minutes later on the edge of the penalty area, which Middleton fired low into the net to make 6-1. Knapman and Pollock both went close before another pinpoint Bleazard cross saw Knapman forcing a double block, with Everson's follow-up effort also cleared but the alert Pollock followed up to make it 7-1.
“It was a productive run out, I knew they would move us around at times but it's irrelevant who we play, it’s all about what we do,” said Argyle manager Dave Leonard. “I thought we did a really good job but the goal really disappointed me, we gave the ball away and then just shut off.
“We have got to eradicate our basic mistakes, it costs us a goal. We've got to learn from that – that is what pre-season is all about. If we do that, we will be better for it. The biggest thing I am trying to get at our training sessions is how effective we can be when we haven't got the ball.
“We scored four goals from them [Bristol City] trying to play out at the back.”
Leonard commented on the performance of 16 year-old Beth Everson, saying: “She is young, she is keen and she wants to listen. She's got a good future ahead of her. What is nice is the way the girls have taken to her and encouraged her.”
Argyle squad: Becky Kyle, Kate Middleton, Mollie Taylor, Helen Bleazard, Ellie Bishop, Kayley Lane, Becky Dandridge, Amber Pollock, Faye Ivall, Beth Everson, Natasha Knapman, Darcey Hepworth.
AFC Bournemouth 8- 3 Argyle Development
A young patched-up side didn't get the rub of the green at Bournemouth where they ended up with ten players following injuries to key personnel. All looked well when Argyle took the lead with a great Tamsin Keat strike.
Unfortunately, it was then downhill when, with less than ten minutes on the clock, they lost Kiara Robins through injury. This gave an early debut to sixteen year-old Chardonnay James. During the reshuffle, Bournemouth grabbed an equaliser and within two minutes had taken the lead with a goal Argyle felt was offside.
Lucy Solloway nearly grabbed an equaliser but her well-struck shot cannoned back off a post. It got even worse when the next two Bournemouth goals also looked offside,
Bournemouth increased their lead in the second half and added another. It got worse for Argyle when they were reduced to ten players when Scarlett Williams came off injured. Undeterred, they pulled a goal back when Nicola Champion latched on to a Tamsin Keat through ball to score.
Bournemouth struck twice more to give the scoreline an unrealistic look but Argyle had the last say when sixteen year-old Beth Cowd intercepted the ball in her own half to score with a fine solo goal.
Manager Rob Bonney said: “Even though we were down to the bare bones of a squad, we did make it difficult for ourselves and the team were made aware of the areas of their game, where we certainly need to work on.
“A special mention to Rachel Javan, who took the role of assistant. Not only did she captain and play in the side, she also had a big say in the changing room. She is an absolute role model and is a massive influence around the youngsters, and someone they should aspire to follow.”
Argyle: Maddie Walsh ,Jodie Randall, Rachal Javan, Beth Cowd ,Chardonnay James, Hannah Brock, Scarlett Williams, Kiara Robins, Lucy Solloway, Tamsin Keat, Nicola Champion, Maisie Williams.