A DEPLETED Plymouth Argyle Ladies side overcame horrendous conditions on Canvey Island to secure third win in a row with a 2-0 victory over C&K in the National League Southern Premier Division.
Argyle opted to make an overnight stay in Dartford which was a unique experience for teenagers Kelly Vinnicombe, Nicola Champion and Tamsin Medd-Gill, who stepped up from the club’s development team.
The Pilgrims were without five players from the squad that beat Queens Park Rangers the previous week, including goalkeeper Lindsay Rogers, who left the club for personal reasons. This meant bringing in Sarah Prior from the development team, who has been out for sometime due to a hand injury.
The conditions were far from conducive to Argyle’s slick passing game as the hosts spent hours before the match making the pitch playable.
Argyle started with a back three, five players playing across the middle of the park and Zoe Cunningham as the main striker. This allowed Faye Ivall to have a free role behind Cunningham.
And their game-plan plan worked as with a strong wind behind them the Greens took a second-minute lead when a long ball forward from Leah Burridge was spilled by the home goalkeeper to Bleazard, who managed to score from an acute angle.
This was just the start Argyle needed as they were able to settle and control the game.
Chances came and went until the 39th minute when a Burridge shot was spilled by the goalkeeper leaving the alert Kayley Lane to poke the ball over the goal line.
With a strong wind blowing in from the Thames, Argyle knew Basildon would change their tactics second half, so the visitors changed their formation with Burridge moving to right-back and Bleazard and Lane swapping wings. This decision nullified any chance Basildon had of getting back into the game.
In the 69th minute 16-year-old Cornish striker Nicola Champion came on for her debut to lead the line with Cunningham reverting to the number 10 role.
And the young striker immediately impressed with her hold up play, determination and running off the ball.
Five minutes later Vinnicombe also came on for her debut with Bleazard having to leave the field with an ankle injury.
Vinnicombe also caught the eye with her no nonsense approach to the game – stopping opposition runs and by keeping the game simple.
Rodd said after the game: “We as a club are extremely grateful to have such good young coaches such as Jason (Haswell) and Sparky (Bonney). This match was a potential banana skin but to have these two as part of the set up is a great credit to them.
“Who else but Jason would give up an evening to prepare Prior for the game having been out of action for such a long time? Likewise with Marc, his attention to detail is superb and helped the girls enormously in preparing for the match in very challenging conditions.”
With the club having to make so many changes Rodd added: “It is a great credit to all the girls, especially the youngsters from the development team who all put in a good shift. All the players worked well in the conditions and the three substitutes can be proud of themselves.”
Argyle squad: Sarah Prior, Mollie Taylor, Kate Middleton, Ebony Dover, Leah Burridge (Tamsin Medd-Gill), Helen Bleazard (Kelly Vinnicombe), Kayley Lane, Zoe Cunningham, Becky Dandridge, Jessica Jones, Faye Ivall (Nicola Champion).