PLYMOUTH Argyle Ladies were knocked out of the League Cup in the determining round by Devon rivals Exeter City.
The Grecians caused a big upset by triumphing 4-3 at Cullompton and it means Argyle will now have to contest the plate competition rather than the main cup.
Argyle had beaten Exeter 8-3 in a pre-season friendly game, but unfortunately they went into Sunday’s tie without striker Natasha Knapman, midfielders Zoe Cunningham and Ellie Bishop and central defender Mollie Taylor. In their absence, the Pilgrims never really got to grips with the game.
Greens manager Dave Leonard said: “It was a bad day at the office and I wish Exeter all the best in the future.”
On a baking hot afternoon, Argyle went behind in the 19th minute when new Exeter signing Anthea Kaptein scored.
Argyle plugged away and drew level 11 minutes before half-time when the lively Amber Pollock fired in from distance.
But the Pilgrims were caught out almost on the stroke of the interval when Kaptein gave Exeter a 2-1 lead.
Argyle came out for the second half on the front foot and within a minute of the restart had drawn level through Jessie Jones.
Unfortunately, two minutes later they fell behind again when Emma Britten netted from close range.
And Kaptein completed her hat-trick in the 66th minute to put the tie almost out of reach.
Argyle kept battling away and deservedly reduced the arrears in the 72nd minute though Pollock’s second goal.
Leonard brought on Beth Everson for Darcey Hepworth three minutes later but the visitors failed to grab an equaliser.
“Congratulations to Exeter and I want to go on record to say they put on a gallant performance and thoroughly deserve what they got out of the game,” said Leonard. “I wish them all the best in the nest round of the competition
“That wasn’t us; we were way below the standard I expect at this football club. It was one of those bad days and I could rarely given anyone over four out of ten.
“It was one of these days where 11 players didn’t operate and that disappoints me. At the end of the day it was a bad day at the office and it is what it is and we will be better off for it.”
Argyle: Becky Kyle, Darcey Hepworth, Faye Ivall, Ebony Dover, Kate Middleton, Leah Burridge, Helen Bleazard, Kayley Lane, Becky Dandridge, Amber Pollock, Jessie Jones, Beth Everson, Lucy Solloway.
Meanwhile, Argyle development team enjoyed a 6-5 victory over Lakeside Athletic in a good pre-season work out.
The development side went into this game once more relying heavily on youth. Sixteen-year-old Leah Johnson was given her debut. Also in the starting line up was the welcome return of American Rachel Heron.
However, the young Argyle team suffered a number of injuries despite dominating early exchanges and went into half-time 4-1 in front thanks to goals from a Nicola Champion (2), Scarlett Williams and a Rachel Javan penalty.
Champion went on to complete her hat-trick before knocking in her fourth goal although Lakeside battled well to keep the deficit to just one goal.
Manager Rob Bonney said: “To be honest we were in complete control of the game up until half-time but when we lost another two players early in the second half, it was a game changer.
“Lakeside were constantly making changes and were able to refresh their team. But I have nothing but praise for our 11 who had to play through that heat to see the game through. They have trained hard all through the pre-season and it certainly showed.
“Their passing and pressing game in the first half was impressive and their energy levels in the second half was equally impressive. We would like to thank Lakeside for coming into the fixture at short notice, when our original opponents pulled out and playing their part in an entertaining game.”
Argyle Development: Maddie Walsh, Jodie Randall ,Maddy Leppard , Rachel Javan, Leah Johnson, Beth Cowd, Maisie Williams, KIara Robins, Scarlett Williams, Nicola Champion, Chardonnay James, Tamsin Keat, Milan Barros, Rachel Heron.