ARGYLE Ladies put in a scintillating second half-performance to see off Yeovil Town in the FA Women’s National League Southern Division.
Manager Dave Leonard said before the season started he wanted to make the Manadon Sports Hub a fortress and this result, which followed last week’s 6-1 hammering of Keynsham Town certainly ticked that box in front of 245 fans.
Argyle’s performance showed that they are certainly capable of putting in a challenge for the league title even, at this early stage of the season – as they barely let a team who were playing professional football last season have a sniff at Becky Kyle’s goal.
The goal Yeovil did score was a bizarre affair when a rare effort from Anne-Marie Heatherson bounced off the head of Argyle captain Kate Middleton to hit the far post before going in off the other post.
The game took time to settle but Argyle were given an early shock when a terrific tackle by Kayley Lane was rewarded with a yellow card. Neither side looked like scoring but this was down to Argyle not finding the killer pass in the final third.
The breakthrough finally came in the 34th minute when Amber Pollock fired in a superb cross-field pass to Becky Dandridge who controlled the ball and skipped past a challenge before finding the corner of the net.
Four minutes into the second half, the break came when Bleazard put Dandridge through with a pin point pass and she composed herself before firing into the net. Argyle were playing some excellent football and the third goal eventually came when Jessie Jones dispossessed former Argyle player Jodie Chubb to race clear and slam the ball into the corner of the net.
Argyle were now in full control and a quick move down the left ended with Bleazard finding Knapman, who slammed the ball into the net. It quickly became 5-0 when a great cross from Jones found the unmarked Knapman who headed in her second goal.
After the match Leonard could not praise enough the fans who turned up on a blazing hot afternoon. As far as the match was concerned, he said: “The girls were superb. We have to put it down to the scouting report dine by Trevor (Rodd), to Hannah (Robertson) getting them fit Vicky (Fannon) doing her fitness analysis Sparky (Marc Bonney) coaching them and me managing them.
“Those girls deserved the 245 fans accolade; great performance, great crowd - these days in football don't come around that often but we have got to keep our feet on the ground, enjoy it and move on.”
Although Leonard was impressed by the whole teams superb performance he had a special word for Bleazard, who marked the talented Sarah Wiltshire out of the game. “It was a tactical decision and we don't make decisions lightly,” said Leonard. “The energy levels of the girls, their fitness, their shape and organisation, they could not have done anything more than I asked and it was a great performance from everyone.”
Argyle squad: Becky Kyle, Leah Burridge, Kate Middleton, Mollie Taylor, Helen Bleazard, Kayley Lane (Steph Beck), Zoe Cunningham (Faye Ivall), Becky Dandridge, Amber Pollock, Jessie Jones, Natasha Knapman (Ebony Dover)
Argyle’s young development went down to their second odd goal defeat against their local rivals Plympton, who have become a bogey team for Argyle as they took four points out of them last season.
The Development team started to find their feet in the game and it was Lucy Solloway who was first to threaten the Plympton goal, with a shot across the face of the goal. It was then Dani Wyatt who was a livewire all game who had a shot smothered.
The youngsters finally got their rewards when a through ball from Rachel Javan found Dani Wyatt, who managed to hold off two defenders and lay on a great pass to Hannah Brock to fire home from the edge of the penalty area.
The second half started with chances at both ends. First, was an effort from Plympton which was well saved by Walsh in the Argyle goal. It was then a great ball from Rachel Heron in behind the Plympton full back that allowed Solloway a run in on goal. Unfortunately, she could not capitalise and her effort went agonisingly past the far post.
Minutes after came the game-changing moment. A high ball on the halfway line was clearly handled by Beth Cowd the Argyle full back with the home team in possession. Expecting the free-kick, and Samantha Metters equalised.
This seemed to rattle the youngsters and Chelsea Robinson was given the chance to smash the ball home into top corner. Argyle slowly got their game back together but despite two late efforts, both headers from Brock and Solloway, they could not find the equaliser.
Argyle Development Squad: Maddie Walsh, Beth Cowd, Giota Papaioannou, Leah Johnson, Jodie Randall, Rachel Javan, Rachel Heron, Lucy Solloway, Nelinha Barros, Hannah Brock, Dani Wyatt, Dee Newman, Kiara Robins, Scarlett Williams.