Argyles impressive season continued with another scintillating performance to reach the third round of the FA Cup which prompted manager Travis Rowland to say: ‘So proud of the effort over the 120 minutes. Unbelievable levels of fitness from the girls and could have scored many more.’
Argyle travelled to Kent on the Saturday for an overnight stop and the decision came up trumps as the players came out for the game looking fresh and up for the challenge.
They could not have got off to a better start when within 90 seconds of the kick off the ball was in the Gillingham net.
Zoe Cunningham raced clear on the right with her low shot taking a slight deflection before entering the net.
Both teams had chances but Gillingham drew level when Jade Keogh’s direct corner caught out Michela Phillips who under pressure punched the ball into her own net.
Rowland changed the the set up for the second half which seemed to work as they dominated most of the half.
Striker Natasha Knapman somehow hit the post from close range before heading over when under pressure.
It looked odds on that Argyle would take the lead but Kayley Lane also struck a post with Becky Dandridge firing narrowly over the cross bar.
Lane along with Amber Pollock who terrorised the Gillingham defence was replaced by Ezme Wells who announced herself by shooting wide.
Two minutes before the end of regulation time Dani Bar replaced Cunningham.
In the first half of extra time Rowland changed the formation which saw Knapman taking a deeper role with Wells taking up an out and out striker role.
Jessie Boston replaced Becky Atkins in the 98th minute as Argyle looked to push on for victory.
The change of system worked perfectly as in the 12th minute of extra time Knapman was able to run from deep to head in a superb Amber Pollock cross.
Argyle had no problems in the second period of extra time as Gillingham visibly tired.
The back four were never troubled and it was only a matter of time for Argyle to put the game to bed when five minutes into the second period of extra time a Pollock corner was flicked on by Dandridge to Wells who hooked the ball into the net.
Rowland concluded by saying: ‘We did enough over the 90 minutes to win the game. As soon as we kicked off for extra time I knew that we had enough to win it. Pollock and Lane tormented their full backs throughout and when Wells came on she did the same.’ Adding: ‘Such high intensity throughout by everyone. Deep into extra time both Darcey (Hepworth) and Pheobe (Baker) were still bombing on. All the subs made an impact which was exactly what we wanted. Looking forward to the draw ‘