After twice being postponed at home, the tie was switched to Swindon in an effort to get it played.
The Supermarine pitch, though soft , was in good playing condition, and a credit to their groundstaff to provide a good surface to play on.
With some players unavailable manager Rhys Sullivan made changes to the more usual line-up. Michaela Phillips continued in goal, with Chelsea Easton at right back. Moving across to centre back was teenager Charlie Carter, who had her Captain Kate Hine next to her in a first time pairing. Making her debut for at left back was Nat Bavister, a recent signing from Portsmouth. In a four player midfield was Sophie Drake, Becky Rose, Aoife Aherne and Laura Perrett. Up front Laura Gough formed a new strike force with Tash Knapman another debutant, recently signed from Totnes & Dartington. On the bench today were Leah Brooks, Rhianne Parsons and Amy Caylor.
In a rare sunny spell the game began with the Pilgrim’s playing into a strong headwind. After finding their bearings, (this being their first game for a month) they began to press the opposition back and control the play . Argyle had the majority of the possession as but the home team defended stubbornly.
Both Becky Rose and Laura Gough had shots that just failed to find the target. Pressure was mounting steadily on the home defence and in the 24th minute a shot from Gough was spilled by the home keeper to give an easy tap in for Tash Knapman for her first goal in Argyle colours.
Argyle were not having it all their own way however, and keeper Phillips had to be alert on a couple of occasions to rush out and gather the ball at the feet of opponents.There were no real scares as the new look back four coped comfortably with the home teams attacks, whilst the midfield worked hard to impose themselves on the game, and provide the strikers with chances.
On 41 minutes a nice Argyle build up ended with a ball slotted through for Tash Knapman to fire home her second, and take the visitors to the break with a 2 – 0 lead.
The break gave the home side time to regroup, and they came out with renewed confidence and began to pressure Argyle. A long ball out of defence was dealt with nicely by Chelsea Easton as she disposessed the attacker inside the area. A couple of minutes later and a similar ball was met with ineffectual defending and this time the forward broke through a couple of weak tackles to plant the ball firmly into the net.
Their joy was short lived, as Argyle responded in the perfect manner . In their next attack Becky Rose burst through the defence to shoot firmly home and restore the two goal advantage. The Greens were oozing confidence at this point and playing some attractive football with Aoife Aherne and Rose being involved in just about every move. In the 79th minute it was the latter who unleashed a tremendous drive from 25 yards to give the home keeper no chance. Three minutes from time and Becky Rose completed her first Argyle hat trick when another good strike took a deflection and wrong footed the keeper.
This was a great team performance, and everyone played their part. New girls Tash Knapman and Nat Bavister had excellent debuts, and will prove to be terrifiic additions to the squad as the season progresses.
Manager Rhys Sullivan gave player of the match to Becky Rose. ” Not because she scored three goals” he said, “But for her all round performance. She was tigerish in the tackle, her distribution and vision were excellent, her best game of the season”
Congratulations to all the players for turning in a top performance in difficult conditions !!