DEVON Women’s Senior Cup holders Plymouth Argyle eased into the semi-finals of this year’s competition by beating Feniton 8-0 away on Sunday.
The Pilgrims travelled to east Devon for their quarter-final tie in confident mood after a run of eight straight wins.
But lower league Feniton made them work hard for the win by pressing them high from the start.
Argyle were without goalkeeper Ben Kyle, who is likely to be out of action for a couple of months due to a hand injury that has required surgery.
Also missing were midfielders Becky Dandridge and Kayley Lane, who manager Dave Leonard decided not to risk after recent knocks.
On a superb surface, Argyle went on the front foot and Zoe Cunning and Helen Bleazard both had early chances before the opening goal eventually came in the 12th minute when later predatory striker Natasha Knapman pounced during a goalmouth scramble to fire the ball home.
Knapman, Bleazard and Ebony Dover all had chances before the second goal came in the 27th minute when Zoe Cunningham dribbled the ball across the goal line before despatching it into the net.
Another good ball from Dover found Pollock who shot wide. But 10 minutes before half-time Argyle got a third when Lydia Huntley found Pollock, whose cross was diverted into the net for an own goal.
Three minutes later the lively Pollock outpaced her defender to score with a clinical finish to make it 4-0.
The Pilgrims started the second half as they ended the first with Pollock hitting wide a Bleazard cross. And another Bleazard cross ended with Knapman shooting narrowly over.
At the other end, Katie Middleton, playing in goal, then had her first piece of action when fielding a dangerous Feniton cross and only a Dover interception denied Feniton a shot on goal.
But Argyle’s pressure was relentless and in the 58th minute Bow Jackson raced down the right wing and drew the goalkeeper before playing a one-two ad calmly making it 5-0.
Cunningham had a goal rule out after a great Bleazard cross but another goal did come when Fay Ivall was brought down leaving Leah Burridge to convert the 71st minute penalty.
Feniton responded with a long distance effort which stand-in goalkeeper Middleton saved.
Two minutes after coming on, Mollie Taylor headed in a great goal following a pin-point Bleazard corner.
The final goal came three minutes from time when a Dover corner was recycled back to Bleazard, who crossed it in again for Dover to slam it into the net.
A delighted Argyle manager Leonard said: “It is one of those games where you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It was to me about being professional, getting the job done and giving Feniton all the respect in the world.
“As far as I am concerned it is job done and on to the next round.
“They (Feniton) worked hard and battled well, but we got the result and move on.”
He added: “We were also able to give Faye (Ivall), Lydia (Huntley) and Ebony (Dover) starts to give them a run out. Feniton played a high game and kept catching us offside and full credit to Feniton – they hosted us fantastically and the groundstaff provided a pitch that was immaculate. They made us feel welcome and as a club we wish to thank them for that.”
Argyle: Kate Middleton, Bow Jackson, Faye Ivall, Ebony Dover, Leah Burridge, Helen Bleazard, Zoe Cunningham, Amber Pollock (Jessica Jones), Natasha Knapman, Steph Beck, Lydia Huntley (Mollie Taylor). Substitute not used Becky Dandridge.
Argyle’s development team’s South West League Western Division match at home to Alphington was called off late due to the visitors being unable to raise a team.
Pictures courtesy of Tim Badger