PLYMOUTH Argyle’s hold on the Devon Women’s Senior Cup was ended on Sunday when they were beaten 2-1 by Exeter City in the showpiece final at Coach Road.
In front of a bumper crowd at Newton Abbot, Argyle paid for a poor first half, which saw them go 2-0 down within the opening 30 minutes.
The Pilgrims, who were the cup holders, were better second half but did not really threatened until the dying stages when they got one back and came agonisingly close with another effort.
“It was a game of two halves,” said Argyle manager Ryan Perks. “I think we looked a little bit nervous in the first half and didn’t really get going, but second half I could not fault the effort. I thought we were superb second half.”
Exeter, who are a league below Argyle, were dominant in the first 45 minutes and striker Esme Kilburn-Thompson provided them with the cutting edge that the Greens were missing at the other end.
Pilgrims goalkeeper Poppy Soper made a good save on 11 minutes to deny the Grecians but she was unable to prevent Exeter taking the lead 10 minutes later. Plymouth failed to clear a corner and Kilburn-Thompson fired in from the edge of the box to give her team the lead.
It got better for City five minutes later when Kilburn-Thompson added a second. This time she was in the perfect place at the far post to connect with a great cross from the left by Zoe Watkins.
Argyle brought on the experienced Katie Middleton after going 2-0 down and she did make a big difference in the heart of Plymouth’s defence.
But Kilburn-Thompson could not have come closer to claiming a hat-trick when she hit the bar on 28 minutes with a long-range effort.
Exeter did have two good chances at the start of the second period and hit the woodwork again, but then Argyle slowly started to get into the game and finally had a bit of pressure.
Both sides threatened with free-kicks before Beth Ireland came agonisingly close with a header from a corner in the closing stages.
Ireland did eventually get on the score-sheet in injury-time to give the Greens hope of taking the final into extra-time.
However, it was not to be and it was Exeter that actually came closest to scoring when they hit the woodwork again just before the final whistle went.
Meanwhile, Signal Box Oak Villa also suffered disappointment at the hands of Exeter City as they were beaten 6-1 by the Grecians’ development team in a replayed Devon Women’s Supplementary Cup semi-final at Exwick.
In the Cornwall Women’s Football East Division, Saltash Borough could still finish as runners-up after they beat struggling Charlestown 15-0 away on Sunday.
Borough are third, two points behind second-placed Callington Town reserves. To overtake them they will need to beat neighbours and champions Saltash United in their final match on June 13.
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