PLYMOUTH Argyle Ladies suffered their heaviest defeat in nearly three years when they were beaten 9-1 away by Coventry United in the in the FA Women’s National Southern Premier Division on Sunday.
It was their worst loss since going down 11-0 to Coventry on January 3, 2016 in their relegation season.
The result left joint manager Dave Leonard dumbfounded. He said: “In all my years of playing and managing I don’t have any words and I can’t explain how I feel. They were not eight goals better than us but the result does not lie, it seems the confidence throughout the team has gone.”
Sixth-placed Argyle went into the game on the back of a good Devon Cup win against Marine Academy Plymouth but looking to end a two-game league losing streak. Kayley Lane and Becky Dandridge both recovered from knocks with Panagiota Papaioannou keeping her place on the starting line-up for her league debut.
In front of a healthy gate of 209, there was no inkling of what was to come as Zoe Cunningham’s low shot was well saved.
But two minutes later they were stunned when a great through ball from Amber Hughes found Shannon O’Brien, whose shot went through the hands of goalkeeper Lindsay Rogers.
A minute later a shot come cross from Natalie Haigh sailed over Rogers into the net.
Rogers was beaten again in the 11th minute when Hughes fired across her into the corner of the net.
Argyle recovered their composure and after a couple of corners Katie Middleton blasted over, before only a desperate Darcey Hepworth challenge denied unbeaten Coventry an almost certain goal.
Another Coventry goal did come just after the half-hour mark when Rosie McDonnell headed in a deep free-kick.
The home club’s pressure was relentless with Becca Wakley clearing an effort off the goal line. It didn’t matter as a minute before half-time after Rogers made a great save McDonnell pounced to make it 5-0.
Leonard made a double substitution at the break with Mollie Taylor and Steph Beck coming on. This seemed to have the desired effect as an excellent move ended with Becky Dandridge putting through Helen Bleazard (pictured top), who made no mistake to score her seventh goal of the season.
Argyle continued to press with Jessica Jones having her effort saved. Unfortunately that was as good as it got as Coventry scored a sixth through Amy Wathan.
Coventry kept up the pressure and McDonnell completed her hat-trick with a thumping strike.
The overworked Rogers made a great save only to be beaten by Louise Jefferies. And Argyle’s miserable afternoon was made complete when after Dover conceded a penalty Cleniste Austin converted the penalty as Coventry moved to the top of the table.
Leonard added: “The result was unacceptable. I told the girls we will see them at training on Wednesday while in the meantime I will analyse just what went wrong. We have the chance to rectify the loss by going back to Coventry on Sunday in the FA Cup.”
Argyle squad: :Lindsay Rogers, Darcey Hepworth (Steph Beck), Panagiota Papaioannou, Becca Wakley (Mollie Taylor), Kayley Lane (Ebony Dover), Kate Middleton, Zoe Cunningham, Becky Dandridge, Helen Bleazard, Jessica Jones, Amber Pollock
Argyle’s development team’s South West League Western Development match at Exeter & Tedburn Rangers was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.