WOMEN’S FOOTBALL: Plymouth Argyle get off the mark in style at Keynsham

PLYMOUTH Argyle secured their first FA Women’s National League Southern Division win of the season in emphatic style on Sunday.

The Pilgrims triumphed 5-1 away at Keynsham to move up to ninth in the early standings. It followed defeats to much-fancied Southampton and Portsmouth in their opening two games.

Argyle, who have welcomed back a number of players over the summer, went 2-1 up in the first half at the AJN Stadium.

Keynsham started quite well but it did not take long for Argyle to settle down and take the lead courtesy of a 10th-minute strike from Gabi Alphous.

The visitors continued to have chances with Natasha Knapman and Imogen Crawford testing the Keynsham defence and goalkeeper before the Pilgrims did get a second goal on 35 minutes. It came from Knapman, who fired into the bottom corner after Zoe Cunningham had done well to win the ball back in midfield.

Keynsham pulled a goal back just before half-time but Argyle did not let it upset them and two quick goals at the start of the second period made the game safe.

First, Alphous scored her second with a great strike, before a minute later, Cunningham added number four with a free-kick from the edge of the box.

More chances came and went before substitute Emily Eaton scored with her first touch after coming on to the field to wrap up a good win for the Greens.

Meanwhile, Saltash United warmed up for their debut in the South West Western Division with a 4-3 home defeat to higher league St Austell on Sunday. Jazz Hervin, Morgan Friend and Hayley Ranachan scored the Ashes goals.  Saltash will open their league season with a home game against Plymouth Argyle Under-23s.

Elsewhere, South West Premier League side Marine Academy Plymouth ran out 11-4 winners over Devon League outfit Signal Box Oak Villa on Thursday evening. Sam Metters scored four of their goals, with Ellie Bishop bagging a hat-trick, Samantha Drewery netting two and Chloe Harris and Dionne Igalawuye also chipping in with strikes.

Marine Academy will open their league season on Sunday with a home game against Sherborne, while Signal Box will be at home to Teignmouth in their first Devon League Western Division fixture.

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