Plymouth Argyle had a score to settle against their Sussex opponents as it was their 5-4 home defeat against them in the league last season that cost Argyle promotion.Not this time as the club comfortably saw off their higher league opponents to reach the second round.
The performance pleased manager Travis Rowland who said: ‘I could not be more proud of the girls, we exorcised a few demons out there and they stuck to their task. Yes, extremely proud of how they stuck to the task ahead.’ Rowland added: ‘We set it up to make it difficult for Chichester and it worked.’
Argyles plans began to work and for the opening half an hour dictated play. A goal was always on the cards and who else to give them the lead but in form Natasha Knapman. In an excellent inter passing move Knapman shot across the goal into the corner of the net.
Unfortunately Argyle were caught out minutes later when Chichester overloaded on the right which resulted in Jade Widdows drawing the teams level.
Argyle could have rued a number of missed chances and it didn’t look good when five minutes into the second half Ezme Wells who had taken a knock was replaced by Tori Marks.
It took the flying winger ten minutes to get on the score sheet when following excellent work by Knapman – Marks picked up the ball and drilled it into the net.
Five minutes later Knapman scored her second when a Becky Dandridge corner was met at the near post by a Kate Middleton flick on which went to the alert Knapman who scored with a well struck half volley.
Knapman passed up a great chance of completing her hat trick when after being set up by Marks, her first effort was well saved but with the goal at her mercy she blasted the rebound over the crossbar.
With victory virtually secured Rowland rang the changes with Becky Atkins coming on for Amber Pollock. This meant a shuffling of positions with Kayley Lane taking up a position on the left.
The final substitution came in the 80th minute when Mollie Taylor who had picked up aa ankle injury went off to be replaced by Jessie Boston.
Argyle were never really troubled and safely saw out the tie to make it to the second round.
Rowland asked for a special mention for Kayleigh Brown who was unused from the bench: ‘we have a very competitive squad at Argyle and having a player like Kayleigh who puts in 100% every session is a managers dream. She hasn’t played as much as she would like but her attitude epitomises the great strength and depth we have within the squad.’