A RED card was to prove costly for Plymouth Argyle in their opening FA Women’s National League Southern Division fixture of the 2021-22 season away at Portsmouth.
The Pilgrims lost 5-1 after conceding four goals in the final 20 minutes when Pompey’s extra player told.
Up until the final quarter, the game was evenly balanced, with Argyle, having welcomed back experienced players like Natasha Knapman, Zoe Cunningham, Rebecca Dandridge and Gabi Alphous this summer, showing they are going to be far more competitive than they have been during the last two Covid-disrupted seasons.
In front of more than 250 supporters, neither side was able to break the deadlock in the first half, with the woodwork denying both.
Unfortunately, for the Pilgrims early in the second half they were reduced to 10 players when Olivia Ramsey was shown red for a foul on the edge of the box.
Portsmouth went in front on 59 minutes when Shannon Albuery fired into the bottom corner of Poppy Soper’s net.
But Argyle showed good character to hit back with a cracking goal from Dandridge.
Yet the 10-players of Argyle just ran out of steam in the closing stages and Portsmouth debutant Cherelle Khassal took advantage to score four goals.
Greens manager Ryan Perks said: “Not the result we wanted, but the red card two minutes into the second half didn’t help. The girls showed great character to come back from 1-0 to 1-1 but run out of legs in the final 15 minutes. Move onto the next game at home next week.”
Marine Academy Plymouth do not start their South West Premier League campaign until the start of September.
They continued their build up for that with a 1-1 home draw against Bridgwater United Academy Under-21s.
Bridgwater went in front on 15 minutes with a stunning long-range shot.
Marine found it hard to get their passing going early on, but were more threatening after the break and captain Sam Drewery showed strength and skill to get the better of two Bridgwater defenders and fire in from the edge of the box 10 minutes from time.
The hosts came close to snatching in it in injury time when they hit the bar.
Saltash United, who are preparing for their debut campaign in the South West League Western Division, continued their pre-season programme with a 2-0 defeat to higher league Torquay United.
The Ashes will have been encouraged by their display against the Gulls, particularly second half.
Torquay went 2-0 up in the first period, but Saltash had their chances and more than matched their visitors in second 45 minutes.
Elsewhere, Devon League outfit Signal Box Oak Villa enjoyed a 6-0 pre-season win over Cornish side Wadebridge.
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