PLYMOUTH Argyle Ladies’ manager Dave Leonard and director of football Trevor Rodd have stepped down from their roles at the club.
The duo led the Pilgrims towards the top of the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier last season, before a spate of injuries saw them fall to fifth before the season was eventually ended early due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rodd said: “Having taken the club as far as we felt we could, Dave Leonard and myself have stood down at Argyle Ladies.
“Just like to thank all the staff and players who have worked for me, the management team around me and the sponsors and volunteers for their support. Good luck for the future.”
In a statement, the club said: “Plymouth Argyle FC, as well as the Argyle Community Trust, would like to place our thanks on record to Dave and Trevor for all their efforts with the ladies, and wish them all the best in their future careers.”
Leonard and Rodd’s departure comes a week after first team coach Marc Bonney had also stood down and the club had seen star players Natasha Knapman, Helen Bleazard, Leah Burridge and Zoe Cunningham move on.
Meanwhile, Argyle’s young development team were given a tough workout by newly-formed Saltash United, who got their pre-season off to a terrific start with 2-1 victory at a baking hot Kimberley Stadium on Sunday.
The Ashes are a new team this season and are made up of mainly players from Lakeside Athletic under the management team of Dave Hengle and Simon Westlake.
Hengle said: “I cannot praise Saltash enough for the fantastic support they have given us. They made the transition for us very easy. Our aim is to get into the South West League as quickly as possible.”
The game started with a minute’s silence for former Saltash chairman Colin Phillips.
Both teams took time to settle down in the blazing heat with Lucy Solloway having the first decent effort for Argyle.
Saltash struck back with Dani Harper shooting wide but was given off side anyway.
Argyle took the lead in the sixth minute when Solloway raced on to a through ball to shoot past Rachel Cain. Solloway then shot wide with another effort.
The Ashes drew level in the 12th minute when the ball fell nicely to Hayley Ranachan, who lofted the ball over goalkeeper Megan Walsh.
Saltash then survived a dangerous Argyle corner only to miss the chance of the match when Ranachan found Dani Harper, who, with the goal at her mercy, put the ball over the empty net.
The dangerous Solloway was always a danger up front, but Argyle were nearly caught out on the break but Walsh raced out to clear.
Another quick break saw Saltash pulled up for offside.
Argyle responded with three efforts with a great run by Rosie Shipp ending with great defensive work by Jodie Billington.
Saltash then scored the goal of the match when Jaz Hervin fired in a superb free-kick from distance into the roof of the match to give her side a 2-1 lead.
Argyle almost instantly replied but Libby Lawton’s fierce effort rebounded back off the crossbar with Solloway’s follow up header going wide.
Both teams changed goalkeepers at half-time with former Argyle first team shot-stopper Ben Kyle on for Cain and Maisie Frickleton for Walsh.
The young Pilgims dominated most of the second half but found a tenacious Saltash team fighting for every ball.
Argyle started the brighter with Maisie Williams shooting over. Saltash responded with goalkeeper Maisie Frickleton denying Ranachan.
Back came Argyle with Shipp firing over when Saltash failed to clear a corner. Nicola Champion then fired wide for Argyle, with Chapman then having another effort blocked before Kyle denied her with a great save.
After the match a disappointed joint Argyle manager Gary Bottomley said: “We had 17 free-kicks but couldn’t make use of them as well as having seven corners to none.
“We had 19 players so we rang the changes at half-time to give everyone minutes.
“Saltash came out to break up the play which worked for them. Credit to both sides, though, for keeping going in the heat.”
A delighted Saltash manager Hengle said: “We knew it was going to be a test against the development side as they are fit and young. We had a game-plan trying to rotate as much as possible.
“We showed we could absorb pressure and all-in-all a really good performance. I’m really happy with the result.”