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WOMEN’S FOOTBALL: Devon Cup heartbreak for Argyle and Marine Academy

PLYMOUTH Argyle and Marine Academy Plymouth were both knocked out of the Devon Women’s Premier Cup on Sunday.

Argyle suffered penalty heartbreak against big rivals Exeter City in front of more than 1,300 spectators at St James Park.

The cup tie ended 1-1 at the end of full-time and so spot-kicks were needed to separate them. Exeter’s goalkeeper Abbi Bond proved to be the hero of the day as she saved two of Argyle’s five penalties as the hosts won the shoot-out 4-3.

Argyle had led 1-0 at the break with captain Zoe Cunningham firing the Pilgrims ahead on 28 minutes with a 25-yard free-kick that went in off the underside of the crossbar.

Prior to that Argyle goalkeeper Poppy Soper had made some good early saves to deny cup holders Exeter.

The Pilgrims, who included Kayley Lane in the side after she returned to the club in midweek, started the second half the better but could not find the second goal they needed.

And in the 73rd minute the Grecians pulled level when Zoe Watkins fired home a loose ball.

Natasha Knapman went agonisingly close for Argyle in the final 10 minutes but the deadlock could not be broken before penalties.

Argyle manager Ryan Perks said it was disappointing to lose on penalties and that his team ‘needed to be more clinical in front of goal’.

But he did add that the game was a great advert for women’s football.

Marine Academy also suffered disappointment as they went down 2-1 away at Liverton United.

In a tight-game, Samantha Drewery scored their only goal.

In the Devon Women’s Senior Cup, Activate moved through to the next round as they beat Plainmoor 2-0 away. Heidi Davies and Stacey Tonkins scored their goals.

But newcomers Lakeside had a tough afternoon in the cup as they lost 13-0 away at Fremington.

In the South West Women’s League Western Division, Plymouth Argyle Under-23s move to the top of the table after they overcame previously unbeaten Liskeard Athletic 5-0 at Manadon on Sunday.

The first half was tight and cagey but the breakthrough was finally made in the 42nd minute when Wensday Wise rounded the Liskeard goalkeeper to put Argyle 1-0 ahead.

The young Pilgrims, with three debutants in their side, nearly added a second straight after but the visiting keeper pulled off a great save.

In the second half, Argyle totally dominated. They went 2-0 up seven minutes after the break when 16-year-old debutant Summer Ball scored a stunning goal from the left.

It quickly became 3-0 when Sophie Bunchanan scored a similar spectacular goal from just outside the box on the right

She then added a second on 81 minutes before Wise added her second five minutes from time.

However, there was still time for Argyle goalkeeper Cat Rockett to produce a fine penalty save and deny Liskeard a consolation goal.

In the same division, Saltash United were narrowly beaten 3-2 at home by Helston.

The Ashes made a great start with Mia Lawrence scoring after just two minutes after a good ball from Alex Hugh.

Helston equalised on nine minutes through Beth Prowse, but two minutes later Saltash were back in front with a goal by Jaz Hervin.

The visitors pulled level again with a strike from Eve-Charlotte Moore as the sides went in at the break tied at 2-2.

The game was eventually decided with a 70-minute penalty by Helston’s Sasha Sparkes.

But there was better news for Saltash United’s development team who beat Callington Town 4-1 in the Cornwall Women’s League Cup. Rachel Finch scored twice for the Ashes, with Jasmine Gilbert and Bethany Liley also getting on the scoresheet. Harriet Howell scored Callington’s consolation.

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