ARGYLE Ladies promotion charge continues thanks to this hard fought victory over a very entertaining Keynsham outfit.
The result left manager Dave Leonard slightly bemused as he said: “For the opening 25 minutes we were the best team and for the next 20 minutes we were the worst. Thankfully we stuck to our game plan and were deserved winners.”
Ezme Wells was declared fit to play following a car accident with midfielder Dani Barr also able to play having recovered from a broken wrist, while newcomer Zoe Cunningham was named as one of the substitutes.
Argyle started the game well and should have taken a fourth-minute lead when Tori Marks raced on to a Natasha Knapman through ball only to be denied by a superb save by goalkeeper Collette Bell.
The pressure eventually told in the ninth minute when, after Keynsham failed to clear a corner, Barr slammed in a superb 20-yard half-volley under the crossbar. Five minutes later and it was 2-0, when Knapman found the pacey Marks who neatly lobbed the ball into the net over Bell.
Argyle were then left stunned and confused when in the 21st minute goalkeeper Michaela Phillips made a hash of a back pass with the ball eventually being bundled into the net by Katie Cook. This seemed to completely unsettle Argyle who quickly lost their shape and composure.
Keynsham were now on top with Phillips saving low and Brazilian Geovana Cristina dos Santos firing narrowly wide. Argyle were further hampered when defender Ebony Dover fell awkwardly and had to be replaced by Mollie Taylor. Barr was then cautioned for a rash challenge as Argyle trooped off at half time lucky to still be in front.
Argyle were almost caught napping early in the second half when lively Brazilian Santos’ cross was volleyed narrowly over the crossbar by Jade Radburn, with another shot deflected over.
The Pilgrims then started to dominate with Knapman the focal point of most of the attacks and it was her superb through ball to Marks on the hour mark which ended with the young striker finding the bottom corner of the net.
Argyle were now in full attack mode with lively wingers Wells and Amber Pollock starting to get in behind the visitors defence and the midfield playing a higher line. A minute later Argyle brought on Becky Atkins for Kayleigh Brown.
Knapman then found Marks who was denied by Bell. Argyle kept up the pressure and their efforts paid off in the 65th minute when they forced a defender into a poor back pass leaving Knapman to react the quickest to nip in and fire the ball into an empty net to make it 4-1.
Keynsham then scored a bizarre goal two minutes later when Nadine Grogan launched a remarkable free kick from inside her own half which was allowed to bounce over Phillips. Keynsham still looked dangerous and Wells was cautioned for a rash challenge.
Barr then had a header saved before the home defence managed to scramble the ball clear. Wells was substituted by Kayley Lane before the industrious Barr sealed this valuable win by racing on to a great Atkins through ball to slide the ball home before being flattened by Bell.
“It was nice to get in a solid performance,” said Leonard. “What was pleasing was that we scored two goals on what we knew where they were vulnerable. The work rate and effort was superb in fact everyone put in a great shift.
“Mollie Taylor slotted in well when she came on, Rachel Javan played well at left back and Becky Atkins came on and bolstered up the midfield and our front line were awesome once they got going.”
Argyle: Michaela Phillips, Jessie Boston, Rachel Javan, Katie Middleton, Ebony Dover (Mollie Taylor 23) Amber Pollock, Ezme Wells (Kayley Lane 83), Kayleigh Brown (Becky Atkins 61) Dani Barr, Tori Marks, Natasha Knapman. Unused substitutes Zoe Cunningham, Gabi Alphous.