Champion Development

THIS was a personal triumph for striker Nicola Champion, as she took her seasons tally to 13 with a four-goal haul to keep Argyle at the top of the table in the FA Women’s South-West League Western Division.

It is the start of a new era at Argyle Ladies, a new chairman in place and the Development team re-organising the coaching staff. Into the spotlight comes Gary Bottomley and Ryan Lawton from the under-18 set-up to work alongside manager Rob Bonney and goalkeeping coach Dan Tecza.

The Pilgrim youngsters got off to a quick start with Dani Wyatt the first to shoot at goal. It was Wyatt again who took a Nicola Champion pass in her stride but her resulting shot was straight at Ayres in the Exeter goal. Argyle continued to probe and a Maisie Williams through ball found Champion cutting in at an angle, her resulting shot beat the keeper at the near post to give Argyle the lead.

The Greens continued to press forward and soon added a second goal when a Maisie Williams corner was headed home by Hannah Brock. It was Brock who then turned provider as her cross was put in by Champion.

The Argyle backline had to deal with a few sporadic attacks but in the main it was one-way traffic. It was Williams who once more turned provider as her brilliant through ball was smashed home by Beth Cowd. Next came the goal of the game when a move that started in their own half, involved 23 passes and ended up in the Exeter net through Champion, to make the half-time scoreline 5-0.

The home side proved a tougher nut to crack in the second half. It took fifteen minutes before Argyle added their next goal and it was Williams, who did everything but score, again the provider. Her low cross was tucked home by 16 year-old Dee Newman for her first goal for the club.

Minutes later, the referee took both teams off the field as a torrential hailstorm interrupted play. After the restart, it was business as usual and another penetrating run from Williams and pass found Champion who made no mistake for her hat-trick. With time running out, Champion added her fourth after cutting out an attempted clearance and hitting an unstoppable drive into the bottom corner to make it 8-0.

Manager Rob Bonney was full of praise, not only for the team, but his coaching staff, saying: “Everyone was on it, from the time we arrived at the ground. We played some really good football in very difficult conditions.

“The pick of the goals had to be our fifth. Patience in possession, moving the ball around just waiting for the right opportunity and then the execution. It is something we work on at training, it was really satisfying for the coaching staff.

“We have a break now and it has come at the right time. We have a growing injury list and we lost Jav (Rachel Javan) with a hamstring and Dani (Wyatt) with a re occurrence of her foot injury, so the break from games will suit us.”

Squad: 'Maddie Walsh (Massie Frickleton), Isla Brumhead, Rachel Javan (Chardonnay James), Giota Papaioannou, Maddy Leppard, Beth Cowd, Hannah Brock, Dani Wyatt (Dee Newman), Hannah Brock (Milan Barros), Nicola Champion, Maisie Williams.