A REVAMPED Argyle Ladies Development squad got their pre-season underway with this close-fought defeat in Somerset.
The club has said farewell this summer to team captain Alex Hugh, twenty-goal striker Gabi Alphous, centre half Becky Parkyn and striker Shania Fenlon, as well as Tamsin Medd-Gill and Kelly Vinnicombe, who are studying in America and Cardiff respectively.
Argyle’s new look saw Manager Rob Bonney include four sixteen and three seventeen year-olds, and gave debuts to teenage goalkeeper Maddie Walsh and youngsters Beth Cowd, Beth Everson, Maddie Leppard and Scarlet Williams. Also making their debuts were Maisie Williams, Ellie Bishop, Danni Wyatt and Tamsin Keat.
Playing against a team from a higher division, Argyle understandably took time to settle into the game and had to be grateful to Maddie Walsh for three smart saves to keep them in the game.
The Pilgrims slowly grew in confidence and started to put some passages of play together. It was one of these that led to the opening goal, as fine interplay between Kia Robins, Maise Williams, Ellie Bishop and Wyatt released Nicola Champion who shot past ex-Argyle ‘keeper Lindsay Rogers.
Argyle grew in confidence and, on the stroke of half-time, another debutant Tamsin Keat almost increased the lead when her fierce volley was well saved by Rogers.
The second half was a complete turnaround and Middlezoy piled on the pressure and one of their early efforts cannoned back off the post. A needless free kick given away resulted in the equaliser. The well struck free kick cannoned back off the crossbar and Argyle did not react to the rebound as Chloe Snook pounced to equalise.
It was another mistake that led to Middlezoy going ahead when the ball was given away in midfield and a quick through ball led to Walsh being beaten in a one-on-one situation by Ellie Orritt. Argyle eventually got their game together and came close on a couple of occasions.
The equalising goal finally arrived in the shape of 16 year-old Beth Everson, when she outpaced two defenders and her shot took a deflection that looped over Rogers into the goal.
The game had a final twist though when Bishop appeared to have been fouled in midfield. With the Argyle players expecting the referee to stop the game, Middlezoy raced away to score what was to be the winning goal. Argyle threw everything at Middlezoy but could not find the equaliser.
Manager Rob Bonney was happy with the teams performance saying: “Technically, we were the far better side but we just showed naivety in certain aspects of our game. There is a lot of work to do but it was a promising start.”
Squad: Maddy Walsh, Tamsin Keat, Beth Everson, Ellie Bishop, Beth Cowd, Maisie Williams, Rachel Javan, Lucy Solloway, Danni Wyatt, Scarlet, Williams, Nicola Champion, Maddy Leppard, Kiara Robins.