ARGYLE Ladies manager Dave Leonard has made an impassioned plea for fans to turn out to support the team when they play Gillingham on Sunday at the Manadon Hub (kick-off 2pm).
The Pilgrims go into the match against Gillingham looking to secure the double over the Kent side after beating them 2-0 earlier in the campaign to register their first win of the season. They go into the game in high spirits after goals from captain Kate Middleton and 16-year-old Beth Everson and an own goal saw them to a 3-1 win against Stevenage in the semi-final of the National League Plate competition.
Leonard said: "These girls play for nothing; they deserve the support – we are just a step away from semi-professional football and we have over 100 girls in our system."
The breakthrough came in the 19th minute, when Middleton met a Helen Bleazard corner to thump the ball low into the net. Four minutes later, Argyle won possession from a Stevenage throw-in, Bow Jackson played the ball to Everson, who calmly took it past a defender and slotted into the bottom corner for her first senior goal.
Argyle were stunned on the hour mark when they did not deal with a huge punt up the field by goalkeeper Hannah Vandersluis, which left Nicole Emmings racing clear to shoot past Ben Kyle.
The deciding goal came with less than 15 minutes remaining when a great run and cross by Bleazard was turned into her own net by a Stevenage defender and Argyle moved into the last four.
Leonard likened his team’s performance to “a Del Boy car." He said: "We start and we stall it; we start and we stall it; we just stuttered our way through the game but we were still good enough to beat Stevenage."
It has been a difficult time for boss Leonard as, within a three-week period, he lost five key players from the midfield engine-room. However, the squad has dug deep, with a number of players being given their chance to stake a claim for more regular appearances. Argyle now face three away matches in a row.
It has been a terrific week for the Development team, who beat local rivals Plympton 4-2 to extend their lead at the top of the South West League Western Division, with striker Nicola Champion's double taking her season's tally to 15.
The Development teams league cup tie against Bristol Ladies Union has been postponed.