ARGYLE Development squad got off to the perfect start when they returned from North Devon with all three points from their first game since gaining promotion. It was also a psychological win for the Pilgrims, as their defeat last season against Bideford cost them the Devon League title.
Without a recognised goalkeeper, first-team captain Kate Middleton donned the gloves and experienced midfielder Zoe Cunningham was given a run out. Argyle also gave debuts to youngters Faye Ivall, Tamsin Medd-Gill, Lucy Solloway and Shania Fenlon. Unfortunately, the heavy rain was not conducive to playing fast, open football and with Bideford set up to frustrate, Argyle manager Rob Bonney knew the team had to be patient.
We started on the front foot and Solloway saw her effort smothered by goalkeeper Amy Darnley, with the next chance going to Gabi Alphous, who latched on to a fine ball from Rachel Javan, only to be foiled by Damley.
As the first half entered the last quarter, Bideford started to create a few more chances. Their main weapon was the long ball, which started to create problems for the Argyle defence and Middleton had to be quick off her line on a couple of occasions to thwart the Bideford attack.
Argyle started the second half as they did the first and the introduction of Emily Baker seemed to settle the defence and their persistence was eventually rewarded when after a shot from Tamsin Medd-Gill was deflected for a corner, with the set-piece headed in by Faye Ivall.
The lead was doubled when Clare Ostle picked out Cunningham who left two players in her wake before hitting a fierce drive into the far corner of the net. This was followed with Ostle hitting a great volley from the left hand side of the penalty area into the top corner of the net. The final goal involved some great passing movement between Alphous and Fenlon who played in Cunningham to score her second.
Manager Rob Bonney said of the performance: “We played really well for the opening 30 minutes of the first half but the girls became frustrated because we failed to score. We lost our shape and started to do things the wrong way. It was a good win in the end but there are still improvements to be made.”
Squad: Katie Middleton, Rachel Javan, Charlie Rollerson, Faye Ivall, Alex Hugh, Becky Parkyn, Tamsin Med-Gill, Clare Ostle, Gabi Alphous, Lucy Solloway, Zoe Cunningham, Catherine Davis, Emily Baker, Shania Fenlon.
Goals: Zoe Cunningham 2, Claire Ostle, Faye Ivall