ARGYLE Ladies gave a scintillating performance to see off their enthusiastic Devon rivals in front of a healthy gate of 155 at Elburton Villa FC, all of whom left the ground thoroughly entertained.
Argyle didn't start this Premier League South West Division One too well, as, within a minute of the kick-off, goalkeeper Michaela Phillips had to come out to deny an onrushing Exeter forward.
Exeter were knocking the ball around confidently as Argyle struggled to put their game together with Phillips having to make another good save. Argyle eventually got into the game with Darcey Hepworth forcing a good save from Exeter goalkeeper Nicola Lipscombe.
Argyle then took a 15th-minute lead when a good move ended saw Ezme Wells set up Kayleigh Brown, who fired a crisp low drive from the edge of the penalty area into the corner of the net. The Pilgrim defence then blocked a shot on goal before Dani Barr was denied by Lipscombe.
Hepworth then shot over before a great run from Wells ended with her shot being blocked. Phillips made another save with Wells shooting wide before having another good effort saved at the foot of a post.
Argyle continued to show good attacking moves with striker Natasha Knapman caught off balance when she lofted the ball over the crossbar following a corner from eight yards. A great Knapman ball almost found the onrushing Dani Salt and right on half time another corner ended with Knapman heading the ball against another Argyle player to deny her a goal.
A few harsh words at half time by manager Dave Leonard saw Argyle coming out looking to impose themselves on the game. Barr hooked a cross narrowly wide with Wells also shooting wide.
Five minutes into the half, Argyle increased their lead when Knapman latched on to a Wells cross to do what she does best and fired the ball into the roof of the net from the edge of the penalty area.
Unfortunately, slack defending allowed Exeter to reduce the arrears when former Argyle player Katie Finch somehow had the run of the ball when she burst through a couple of tackles before providing a clinical finish.
The Ladies quickly recovered and further pressure told when, following a foul eight minutes later, captain Kate Middleton stepped up to fire in a superb trade-mark 30-yard free-kick into the corner of the net.
Argyle were by now enthralling the fans with some slick passing moves and, from one of those, a pinpoint cross from Hepworth saw Knapman leap in front of her marker to score with a superb header against her old club.
Argyle kept pushing for more goals with substitute Becky Atkins having a fierce shot well saved with Brown shooting narrowly wide. Argyle should have made it five goals when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Atkins only for Barr to have her penalty kick superbly saved by Lipscombe.
Two more good saves from Lipscombe brought the game to its conclusion and judging by the warm applause from the fans, it was a thoroughly enjoyable night.
Manager Leonard's post match comments were to the point when he said: “We took too long to get going. In my half-time team-talk, I had to remind them how good and fit they really are. They have everything, they just have to believe.”
Argyle will be looking to extend their winning run to four games on Sunday when they entertain St Nicholas in the league. The last time the pair met, Argyle beat their visitors 7-2 in the Premier League Cup.
Leonard added: “There are a couple of niggles but I expect everyone to be fit.” The boss also advised that Kayley Lane seems to be responding well from her injury and will be given a run out with the second team on Sunday, who visit Tavistock Community in the Devon League, bouyed by last weekend’s 20-2 victory over Lakeside Athletic.