Argyle / Football

Argyle Ladies impressive home crowd as they hit six against Keynsham

MORE than 200 fans turned up to watch Plymouth Argyle Ladies see off Keynsham Town 6-1 at the Manadon Sports Hub in the National League Southern Premier Division on Sunday.

The Pilgrims treated the crowd to some of the best football they have played for some time.

Among the spectators were Argyle men’s first team players Tafari Moore and Joel Grant, who were impressed by what they saw.

“We will be back,” said Moore afterwards as he Grant took time out after the game to chat with their female counterparts.

Argyle went into the game on the back of an excellent 2-0 win at Gillingham the previous week. And manager Dave Leonard decided to go with virtually the team that had won at the Gills, with Helen Bleazard, who missed the game at Gillingham, on the bench along with Ebony Dover and Holly Cole.

The Pilgrims took time to settle into the game with their final pass not quite reaching the target despite good build up. Kayley Lane and Natasha Knapman both went close with Amber Pollock having her shot saved and Knapman’s follow up effort going wide.

Pollock, who was playing wide on the right, continually tormented the visitors defence with some great runs and crosses.

Argyle eventually got the goal their efforts deserved when Faye Ivall set Jessie Jones on a run into the penalty area where she was unceremoniously felled leaving skipper Katie Middleton to fire in the 25th minute spot-kick.

Jones and then Knapman both went close as Argyle started to dominate the game.

The hosts doubled their advantage in the 36th minute when Pollock set up Lane, who scored at the second attempt and Knapman made it 3-0 minutes later when she got on the end of another pin-point Pollock cross.

Burridge and Jones then combined to set up Zoe Cunningham whose effort was well saved.

Argyle continued on the attack in the second half with Burridge setting free Knapman, but she was denied with the goalkeeper diving at her feet.

Twelve minutes in and Lane made a quick break, she found Cunningham, whose cross was bundled into the net at the second attempt by Kayley Lane.

The Greens were now playing some scintillating football with Pollock, Jones and Lane all going close. Pollock then set up Dandridge who shot narrowly wide.

Argyle were then caught out by a break down the left with the Keynsham attackers shot being smashed into the net by the retreating Mollie Taylor.

The hosts kept pushing for more goals, with Jones shooting wide before there was an almighty goalmouth scramble with Dandridge, Cunningham and Knapman unable to force the ball over the goal line.

Cunningham then shot straight at the goalkeeper with Dandridge and Pollock combining to set up Knapman who lofted the ball narrowly over the crossbar.

With ten minutes remaining Knapman put a slide rule pass through to Jones, who made no mistake.

Jones and then Pollock were both denied by the goalkeeper with Pollock setting up Dandridge, whose thunderous shot struck the crossbar. With three minutes remaining Jones saw her effort well saved by the goalkeeper – but the ball fell to Bleazard who slammed it into the net leaving Lane having her goal bound shot blocked on the goal line.

“I was very pleased,” said manager Leonard afterwards. “Indeed I thought in places we looked really good. We controlled the game well.

“But shooting in the final third will be something we will be concentrating this week in training. I think the scoreline flattered the opposition.

“The most pleasing part was the 203 people who came out to watch us. I hope they weren’t disappointed how they saw that we can play. I felt we controlled the game for long periods but our entry in the final third was very average. Their second half performance was good. I told them not to take their foot off the gas.”

Argyle: Becky Kyle, Leah Burridge, Katie Middleton, Mollie Taylor, Faye Ivall, Kayley Lane, Becky Dandridge, Jessie Jones, Zoe Cunningham, Amber Pollock, Natasha Knapman, Ebony Dover, Helen Bleazard, Holly Cole.

Meanwhile, Argyle’s development team went down 3-2 away at Alphington in the South West League Western Division.

Despite having seven debutants in the starting line up and another two on the bench the new-look Argyle side started confident fashion.

Maisie Williams tested the Alphington goalkeeper early on with a shot from range. Then Lucy Solloway just failed to get on to a mazy run and cross from Beth Everson,

Despite Argyle’s early chances, it was Alphington who took the lead when Argyle lost possession in midfield and a simple through ball to Helen Kukor allowed her to open the scoring.

Undeterred the Pilgrims youngsters threatened when Beth Cowd caused havoc in the opposing penalty area only for her final effort to be blocked.

Next to try their luck were Maisie Williams and Leah Johnson, but the home keeper saved comfortably.

An equaliser looked on the cards but it was Alphington who increased their lead through the experienced Kukor again. Once more she found room on the edge of the penalty area and shot home past Maddie Walsh.

The second half followed the same pattern as the first with the Argyle development team having the lion’s share of possession without being able to make a breakthrough.

And it was Alphington who increased their lead when Kukor completed her hat-trick.

With nothing to lose, Argyle changed their formation and used all three substitutes. The game was now being played in the Alphington half.

Dani Wyatt had an effort pushed over the crossbar by the keeper, who was then tested by Leah Johnson, who had her shot pushed around the post.

The young visitors finally made a breakthrough when Steph Beck found the top corner of the net with a great free-kick.

Argyle now sensed they could get something out of this game and piled on the pressure. A lofted through ball from Scarlett Williams saw Wyatt bravely go into a challenge with the home keeper, the ball broke loose to 16-year-old Nelinha Barros, who lobbed the covering defenders to make it 3-2.

Unfortunately Argyle ran out of time and did not have a chance to grab an equaliser.

Manager Rob Bonney said: “Despite having a lot of possession we were not clinical enough in front of goal. Some of our approach work was decent enough but unless we finish it off, teams will always have a chance.

“We played a decent Alphington team who were in with a shout for the league until the final two games of last season, so this was a tough start. We made elementary mistakes and were certainly punished. This team is a work in progress and there is a lot of work to be done, but despite a disappointing defeat the signs are encouraging.”


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