IF ever there was a game of two halves, then this was it, as Argyle progressed in the first round of the South-West League Western Division Soccerworld Cup.
The Pilgrim youngsters, bolstered by a few experienced players, dominated the first half and could have gone into the half-time break with a much bigger score than 5-1. The second half was a different affair, as, despite dominating their visitors, they just couldn't reproduce the first-half fluency.
The match allowed first team manager Dave Leonard to run the rule of the youngsters and he will not have been disappointed. The team has undergone a major change under manager Rob Bonney and it will take time for these youngsters to turn in to genuine first-team contenders but all the signs are there.
Argyle went into the tie on the back of last week’s 9-5 win at Feniton in the league and they got the perfect start when Beth Everson raced down the right wing before sending in a deep cross which flew into the top corner of the net.
The Greens continued on the attack and, after Nicola Champion and Steph Beck both fired narrowly wide, a touch of Everson tricky on the right wing ended with Lucy Solloway sliding in to make it 2-0.
Maisie Williams then had a shot saved, only for Beth Cowd to slip a pass through to Solloway in the thirteenth minute to slam the ball into the roof of the net. Argyle continued to use the lively Everson, who was found by Williams with her run and cross being well saved by the goalkeeper.
It quickly became 4-0 when Williams tried her luck from range with the ball dropping just below the crossbar. From Feniton’s first genuine attack, goalkeeper Maddie Walsh raced out to deny the visitors striker.
Another great run down the wing in the 38th minute by Everson ended with the ball flying into the roof of the net to make it 5-0. A rare Feniton foray deep into time added on ended with a foul and Nat Matthews curled in the free kick just under the crossbar.
Argyle decided to use all their bench in the second half to give them game-time but they started the second half as they ended the first with Beth Cowd seeing her low shot well saved. The impressive Steph Beck then worked herself an opening before letting fly to make it 6-1.
The Pilgrims continued to press but were denied when the Feniton goalkeeper pushed the ball on to a post with Solloway also being denied by the goalkeeper. Cowd then raced clear but shot wide.
Argyle were then caught ball watching in the 70th minute when they failed to clear a low cross, which Nia Owen pounced on to score. Argyle responded with Everson's cross being hooked wide by Champion.
Solloway was then denied again by the goalkeeper with Dee Newman curling in a dangerous corner which eventually landed at the feet of Beck who slammed it against the crossbar. Another dangerous corner saw some desperate Feniton defending with Solloway's header safely being clutched by the goalkeeper.
With five minutes remaining, Beck picked up the ball and worked herself an opening before firing in from the edge of the penalty area. Argyle continued to attack with both Everson and Solloway having shots saved. Feniton didn't give up and grabbed a late consolation for a 7-3 final score.
Reflecting on the tie, Bonney said: “It was a win but not in the style we would have liked. Too many individual errors, pass selection and wrong decisions being made by the players.
“We are a Development side and a work in progress, so the positive aspect was all the youngsters had valuable game-time. The downside of this is that the game became fragmented and not so free flowing as we would have liked Saying all of that, we have just won our first cup match and the players know there is plenty of room for improvement.”
Argyle squad: Maddie Walsh, Rachel Heron, Rachel Javan, Isla Brumhead, Steph Beck, Beth Everson, Kiara Robins, Nicola Champion, Maisie Williams, Lucy Solloway, Beth Cowd, Dee Newman, Chardonnay James, Nelinha Barros, Maddy Leppard.