PLYMOUTH Argyle Ladies eased into the second round of the National League Plate competition with a 7-1 away victory over a battling Buckland Athletic side on Sunday.
The Pilgrims went into the game in high spirits on the back of five straight league wins and manager Dave Leonard took the opportunity to make a few changes for the club tie.
He blooded a new centre-back partnership of Bow Jackson and Lydia Huntley in front of goalkeeper Becky Kyle, with Leah Burridge and Faye Ivall occupying the full-back spots, Kayley Lane, Jessie Jones and Becky Dandridge in the midfield engine room, with Zoe Cunningham given a start on the left and Helen Bleazard on the right with Natasha Knapman the lone striker. That left club captain Kate Middleton and Mollie Taylor on the bench alongside with Steph Beck and Ebony Dover.
The first 10 minutes proved to be a scrappy affair until a high free-kick was launched into the penalty area which former Argyle striker Sarah Stacey out-jumped the Argyle defence to head in under the crossbar.
Argyle responded almost immediately when a ball over the defence from Lane found Jones clear to slam the ball into the net. Bleazard then found Jones, who was denied by a superb save from goalkeeper Abigail Bond.
The visitors had now got to grips with the game and a great move down the left ended with Jones having a shot deflected just past a post. Natasha Knapman then headed a corner wide, with Dandridge having a shot blocked and Jones shooting narrowly wide. Jackson then tried her luck from distance but it was pushed wide for a corner.
A second goal had to come and it did when Ivall set Cunningham free down left with her great cross slammed into the net by Knapman to give Argyle a 2-1 lead.
And following a tremendous goalmouth scramble Cunningham fired the ball into the net, despite a great effort by Jana Richards to stop the ball on the goal line to make it 3-1.
Argyle came out for the second half determined to increase their lead and within a minute they did just that when Knapman was given acres of space to look up and loft the ball over Bond to make it 5-1.
Buckland were working hard to get on the front foot but were denied when Kyle raced out to snuff out the attack.
Argyle continued to search for another goal and a great run and pass by Dandridge to Knapman produced another good Bond save. Dandridge then had a shot saved before an audacious overhead kick by Bleazard rattled the crossbar.
Pollock came on and produced two good crosses that could not be finished off. Argyle then had a Bleazard goal ruled out for a foul.
But another goal did come when Lane then found Knapman, who passed to Cunningham and she blasted in from the edge of the penalty area.
Knapman then forced Bond into a wild clearance which went to the Cunningham who had all the time in the world to put the ball into the empty net and complete her hat-trick.
Argyle manager Dave Leonard said: “I spoke to the girls after the game and said it was probably the best thing that could happen to us letting them go 1-0 up.”
He added: “I expect high standards every week not just now and again – we cannot let our standards drop. We were probably at 75 per cent this week – we were scrappy at times.
“We have to strive for high standards every week and we have got to get that mentality right. But we are in the next round and I believe we can win it.”
Argyle: Becky Kyle, Leah Burridge (Ebony Dover), Bow Jackson, Lydia Huntley, Faye Ivall, Jessica Jones (Amber Pollock), Kayley Lane, Becky Dandridge (Steph Beck), Zoe Cunningham, Natasha Knapman, Helen Bleazard. Not used: Kate Middleton, MollieTaylor.
In the South West League Western Division, Argyle’s development team enjoyed a 10-2 away victory at Bude.
The side travelled with six of the under-18 team who had beaten Torquay in mid-week in their squad.
They made a quick start to the game and Lucy Solloway, Beth Everson and Maisie Williams were thwarted by Jo Timmins in the Bude goal before Maddie Walsh in the Argyle goal made a fantastic one-on-one save from a counterattack.
Argyle did take the lead when Williams fired in a rebound after Solloway had an effort block following a good cross from Hannah Brock.
On their next attack, Williams chased a through ball and although her effort was saved, the ball fell to Everson who made no mistake.
At the other end Walsh once again came to Argyle’s rescue with another one-on-one save.
The young Pilgrims got their rewards for all their attacking endeavours with a third goal. A great tackle by Leah Johnson set Kiara Robins away, her through ball found Williams who cleverly lobbed the onrushing Timmins to make it 3-0.
The second half started in the same vain. Everson won the ball, laid it off to Ellie Bishop, who hit a great shot across the face of the goal to make it 4-0.
Bude managed to pull a goal back through Sarah Badham against the run of play and minutes later Badham fired in a free-kick to make it 4-2.
This goal seemed to kick-start the Argyle side again and they started to pile on the pressure.
A Williams through ball allowed Nicola Champion the chance to open her account and Maddy Leppard won a tackle 25-yards out and curled a fantastic shot over Timmins.
There was no respite for Bude as Argyle did not have to wait long for their seventh goal when a great through ball from Jodie Randall was volleyed home by Champion.
Youngsters Chardonnay James and Milan Barros linked up to set up Kiara Robins for the next.
Then Scarlett Williams found Champion, who beat two defenders before unselfishly setting up Lucy Solloway for her well-deserved goal.
It was the hard-working Beth Cowd who had the final say when she latched on to a poor clearance and beat a defender before dispatching the ball into the far corner of the net.
Manager Rob Bonney said: “We needed to improve our shots to goal ratio in the second half. The positives are that players are creating the chances and we are getting into the positions, we just need to be more ruthless. We certainly improved this aspect in the second period.
“We finished the game with a back three of 16-year-olds and a 17-year-old captain. There are going to be highs and lows this season which is to be expected, but they are a young group and they are learning and improving with every game.”
Argyle Development: Maddie Walsh, Jodie Randall, Rachel Heron, Leah Johnson, Hannah Brock, Beth Everson, Kiara Robins, Maisie Williams, Ellie Bishop, Lucy Solloway, Beth Cowd, Nicola Champion, Chardonnay James, Scarlett Williams, Nelinha Barros, Maddy Leppard.