Plymouth Argyle Women bowed out of this season’s FA Cup following a 3-0 defeat at Southampton on Sunday.
Despite a battling display against a side that has been unbeaten for the past couple of seasons in their league, the Pilgrims were ultimately undone by a crucial second goal conceded on the stroke of half-time.
Argyle now dust themselves down for a friendly with Torquay United on Sunday and then the visit of Bideford in the Devon Cup on April 18, with manager Ryan Perks greatly enthused by more positive performances from the youngest members of the squad.
“It is disappointing to go out of the FA Cup and perhaps shows where we are as a squad, but the players can take credit from working incredibly hard and sticking to the game plan,” said Perks.
“We restricted Southampton down the left and they didn’t really create down their strongest side. We also kept their leading scorer quiet but Southampton were the better side on the day. They would be a comfortable team in our league.
“The scores were level until 35 minutes, so we started well and stayed compact. Unfortunately, we switched off from a set-piece and the killer goal came just before half-time, which was particularly sloppy from us.
“The positive aspect was restricting their better players, Poppy Soper was outstanding in goal, Beth Ireland and Rosie Train played very well, so three of our youngest players did a great job. We also brought Katelyn Bell off the bench, and she is just 16 years-old.
“It has highlighted areas that we need to improve but we competed for 90 minutes. There was a positive outlook throughout the day from the players and they loved being out on the pitch again, enjoying the full match-day experience, something we have all missed.
“It was a tough task to play Southampton after three months without football and we move on to an in-house game on Thursday, a friendly with Torquay this weekend and then the Devon Cup.”