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C & K Basildon 2 Plymouth Argyle 1
Two goals in the first half were enough to give C & K Basildon a valuable home win over Plymouth Argyle and lift the Essex club up to seventh in the FAWPL Southern Division.
A goal conceded just after the break left the hosts to endure a nervous last half hour in an entertaining and open encounter but Argyle could not find an equaliser any more than C & K could convert a number of opportunities to see off their resolute opponents.
C & K went very close through Zoe Rushen in the second minute and Karissa Rodney headed powerfully just wide from a right wing cross on 13 minutes but the visitors were looking lively themselves with Mollie Taylor having a shot saved by Cherie Rowlands a minute later. C & K debutant Kerry Stimson had a shot well saved by Argyle's Michaela Phillips from a Karen Stephanou cross on 17 minutes.
Plymouth's best chance of the half came on 23 minutes when Phoebe Baker got clear of the defence but fired wide from close range. Argyle skipper Katie Middleton's excellent tackle denied Rodney two minutes later as she closed in on goal with an entertaining match flowing from end to end.
Rushen was inches wide with a free kick twenty yards out on the half hour but the opening goal came on 33 minutes when Stephanou's left wing cross caused a scramble in the box and another debuting player, Lily Mellors, was on hand to drive the ball home low into the bottom right corner. The lead was doubled three minutes later when Claire Lacey met Amy Nash's corner with a towering far post header.
Any thoughts that C & K might have a comfortable second half were dashed when a defender misdirected a headed back pass wide of Rowlands on 48 minutes to give Plymouth a big boost. A right wing cross by Ellana Moseley nearly allowed Taylor to head an immediate equaliser but the home team then poured on the pressure.
A series of corners by Nash were dealt with, though Lacey had an effort cleared off the line by Danielle Salt on 65 minutes. Argyle's Natalie Volpini made a fine tackle to deny Rushen, then keeper Phillips made a superb save from Rodney to keep Plymouth in the game.
Argyle were always dangerous on the break with Taylor just unable to convert a difficult chance on 83 minutes, then Baker twice being let in on goal by wayward defending late on.
On both occasions, last ditch clearances preserved the precious one goal lead to the end for a hard earned three points for C & K Basildon which keeps them well clear of the bottom two. Plymouth Argyle have faced a difficult set of home fixtures thus far and will hope to pick up points when the teams around them travel to Devon later in the season.
C & K Basildon: Cherie Rowlands, Nicola Carty, Laken Duchar-Clark, Claire Lacey, Karen Stephanou, Kerry Stimson, Zoe Rushen, Lily Mellors, Rebecca Smith, Amy Nash, Karissa Rodney. Subs: Nicola Dunsdon, Laura Bryant, Sophie Blowers, Kirsty Thain.
Plymouth Argyle: Michaela Phillips, Lucy Olde, Katie Middleton, Natalie Volpini, Jodie Chubb, Danielle Salt, Becky Atkins, Phoebe Baker, Kayleigh Brown, Mollie Taylor, Ellana Moseley. Subs: Ezme Wells, Kate Finch, Alex Hugh.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Laken Duchar-Clark is tackled by Mollie Taylor
(middle) Claire Lacey (5) heads the second Basildon goal
(bottom) Zoe Rushen is challenged by Becky Atkins
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