Argyle Women v Cheltenham

Report | Cheltenham Town Ladies 3 Argyle Women 1

22/23 Fixtures

Cheltenham Ladies 3
Grove 48, Cook 71, 83

Argyle Women 1
Whitmore 37

Plymouth Argyle Women fell to a frustrating 3-1 defeat away to newly-promoted Cheltenham Town Ladies in the 2022/23 FAWNL opener at the Corinium Stadium in Cirencester

The Pilgrims led at the break through Charlotte Whitmore's goal, but the home side equalised soon after the break, and Izzy Cook's double took The Robins to victory. 

Cheltenham looked to take the game to the visiting Greens with a flurry of chances in the early stages of the first half. Argyle started to assert their dominance on the quarter hour mark with the first real chance falling to Sophie Perrin following good build-up play from Kayley Lane and new signing Kaitlyn Morgan-Hemmens.

Amber Pollock was causing Cheltenham problems down the wing and there were well-worked passages of play from Argyle with chances falling to Morgan-Hemmens and Pollock.

With 20 minutes gone, an Argyle corner almost resulted in a chance for the hosts. Cheltenham intercepted the set-piece, pushing forward for a threatening counterattack that was superbly broken up following a recovery run from defender Rosie Train. Cheltenham continued to pressure the Argyle defence with a shot from the edge of the box that whistled past the post.

A drinks break on 25 minutes seemed to settle the Greens as a flurry of chances fell Argyle’s way in the next ten minutes. Pollock and new signing Anna Barnes linked up well with a shot going narrowly wide of the post. A cross from skipper Panagiota Papaioannou then found Pollock in the box but her shot lacked the power to test Hannam in the Cheltenham goal.

Chances kept coming, Pollock with another shot from the edge of the box that went narrowly over the bar. The pressure eventually paid off as Argyle took the lead on 37 minutes. Whitmore’s stunning long-range effort dipped just under the bar and out of reach of the Cheltenham keeper.

Cheltenham looked to respond straight from kick-off but their attempt from the edge of the Argyle penalty area drifted wide. A one-on-one had Argyle hearts in mouths on the stroke of half-time. The shot evaded the diving Read and fortunately hit the bar before being cleared by the Argyle defence.

Argyle manager Ryan Perks would have been content at the half-time whistle, although the inability to finish chances would have been a cause for concern as would the openness of the game, with chances coming at each end.

The second half started well for the Greens. Perrin found Whitmore in the box, but her effort went narrowly wide of the post. Cheltenham, however, drew level on 48 minutes. Jade Grove got on the end of a Cook cross to smartly turn the ball past Read.

A determined Argyle looked to respond and had numerous chances to re-take the lead with Pollock and Morgan-Hemmens linking up well and threatening the Cheltenham goal.

Cheltenham came again, forcing Read into a couple of outstanding saves, first from a free-kick which was expertly fingertipped away, then on the hour mark to keep the scores level. Cheltenham were building momentum and confidence and had another chance to take the lead on 65 minutes from a corner. The chance flashed past the Argyle post.

This wouldn’t be the last time Read would be called into action. Cheltenham were awarded a penalty following a handball by defender Lucy Hack. Read came to the rescue again, making an unbelievable save down to her left.

With the pressure mounting Argyle found themselves behind for the first time in the game on 70 minutes. A thumping effort from Cook hit the back of the net following a pass from Butcher.

A double substitution saw Ruby Murphy and Gabi Alphous replace Lucy Hack and Morgan-Hemmens as Perks looked to get Argyle back in a game which was very much in the balance.

Both substitutes made a positive impact, contributing to numerous chances with the pace of Alphous causing problems for the Cheltenham defence, but Argyle couldn’t find the target.

Into the final 10 minutes and Cheltenham were awarded a dangerous free kick on the edge of the box following a foul on substitute Collis. The initial shot was saved well by Read but Cook was on hand to bury the rebound for Cheltenham’s third and Cook’s second of the game.

Argyle made a final substitution on 85 minutes with Pollock replaced by versatile midfielder Tiana Campbell who had Argyle’s final chance of the game. With time running out this wasn’t enough, and the ref blew the whistle on a disappointing opening-day defeat for the Greens.

Argyle will look to bounce back next week in the first home fixture of the season against an Oxford United side who opened with a 2-0 win at home to Bridgwater United.

Argyle: Read, Train, Papaioannou (C), Hack (Murphy), Barnes, Perrin, Crawford, Lane, Pollock (Campbell), Whitmore, Morgan-Hemmens (Alphous). Substitutes (not used): Cox.

Photo Credit: Tom Sandberg

22/23 Home Kit