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WOMEN’S FOOTBALL: Saltash United extend their lead at the top after beating Callington

SALTASH United took a giant step towards claiming the Cornwall Women’s Football League East Division title in their debut season with a 3-0 victory over second-placed Callington Town II at Kimblerly Stadium on Sunday.

The win has moved the unbeaten Ashes six points clear at the top of the table in one of the few leagues to resume after the third national lockdown.

Callington’s second string, who had lost 5-1 at Saltash earlier in the season, should have been at home but they were forced to switch the fixture due to ground works at Marshfield Parc.

After so long without a match both sides struggled to get going and the game was not helped by a lengthy stoppage due to a knee injury suffered by Callington’s Lydia Herbert.

But the fixture finally came to life when Hayley Ranachan scored a stunning long-range goal out of nothing on 25 minutes to put the Ashes ahead.

It got better for Saltash as they doubled their lead 10 minutes later. Some good play by the influential Jade Bryan forced a save out of Callington’s goalkeeper Sara Rowe but the ball fell perfectly for the unmarked Lucy Molseed to fire in at the far post on her debut.

The woodwork denied Saltash a third on the stroke of half-time, but they did get one five minutes after the interval when Mia Lawrence netted following a corner.

But Callington’s heads did not drop and they had some good pressure later in the second half, but could not find a goal. At the other end Rowe produced a good save to keep the score at 3-0.

The next two weeks will be crucial to the Ashes’ hopes of lifting the league title as they face third-placed Foxhole Stars and fourth-placed neighbours Saltash Borough, who have plenty of games in hand on everyone.

Borough were without a league game on Sunday but did play higher league Plympton in a friendly, losing 6-2 at Salt Mill. Hollie Congo and an own goal accounted for their strikes.

Meanwhile, Callington’s first team beat Liverton United 3-2 away in a friendly, with Chloe Williams, Samantha Burnham and Katlyn Bentley scoring.

Plymouth Argyle had returned to action last week when they lost 3-0 away to Southampton in the FA Cup.

This week the Pilgrims took the opportunity to look at some of their up-and-coming players in a friendly against Torquay United at Manadon. Argyle fielded a team with an average of 17 and they were beaten 3-1 by the Gulls. The experienced Lydia Huntley scored the only goal for the Argyle select XI.

Marine Academy Plymouth were flying high at the top of the South West Women’s Premier Division when the season was frustratedly voided due to Covid-19. They have arranged seven fixtures over the next two months to try and keep their moment going into next season.

They got those friendly fixtures underway on Sunday by beating Devon League side Signal Box Oak Villa 14-1 at Weston Mill. Next week they will entertain a Yeovil Town XI at Ivybridge.

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