Cardiff City Ladies vs Plymouth Argyle Ladies Match Preview

Buckland v Plymouth
Photo: twitter.com/TimBadgerPhotos


With cup business handled, the focus returns to the league as two of the divisions heavyweights clash this Sunday in the Southern Premier Division.

Cardiff: the immovable object

Bolstered by the news that the rules involving promotion and league eligibility had sensibly been changed, the Wales side began the season hoping to go one better than last season and clinch promotion to the Championship.

Currently fifth, having conceded just two and scored seven, Blues have taken 13 from a possible 15 points in their last 5 outings. Evidence that while Lauren Smith’s side may not have been prolific in front of goal, their organisation and impressive backline has ensured they usually don’t have to be to come away from games with the results required to keep them within touching distance of teams above them. An efficient Cardiff side.

Last time out they welcomed MK Dons to Ystrad Mynach in the FAWNL Cup. Unable to be separated after extra-time the game was eventually decided by penalties; goalkeeping heroics of Dons’ Emma Kirby sending Cardiff out of the competition following two saves.

Plymouth: the unstoppable force

After finishing 6th last season, ending the campaign with three consecutive defeats, The Pilgrims had a good pre-season and began the season as divisional dark horses. But with lofty ambitions of their own, Argyle now look to push towards the very top places of the division in a season that has started brilliantly for the Devon side.

Spearheaded by the deadly Natasha Knapman – who has notched an impressive 13 goals in 7 games this season – Argyle head into Sunday as the most in-form side in the Southern Premier Division after taking maximum points from their last five outings, scoring 26 times in the process, and conceding just three.

Dave Leonard’s side is keenly poised, currently sitting third in the table, three points behind leaders Wasps with a game in hand.

Last time out they proved to be too much for Division One South West side Buckland Athletic in the FAWNL Cup, securing a sixth consecutive victory and progress into the next round following an impressive 1-7 victory on the road.

Last time they met

Cardiff came away with bragging rights last season following 3-2 victories both home and away to complete a league double over the Pilgrims.

How things stand

FAWNL Southern Premier Division Round-up: Captain Cole scores goals

Six games were due to be played at the weekend until FC Rain intervened, holding the division to a 3-3 draw.

Of those that survived the weather, current league leaders Crawley Wasps hosted Oxford United, in-form Plymouth travelled to Milton Keynes, and Yeovil welcomed Welsh side Cardiff to Dorchester.

Wasps sting U’s to remain top

In their second meeting of the season, Oxford travelled to Crawley in hopes of avenging an earlier cup defeat.

The U’s began the more positive team, with Hines narrowly missing from range, and then volleying an effort over the bar, before Faye Rabson was inches away from latching onto Charlotte Owen’s cross at the other end.

Both sides continued to create chances, and Charlotte Owen was once again involved for Crawley, this time pulling her shot wide of the target from 15 yards.

Oxford came close through a set piece when Megan Stow was inches away from turning the ball into her own net following Williams’ free-kick.

Ultimately though, it was 45 minutes of frustration as both sides failed to capitalise on good chances.

United broke the deadlock six minutes into the second half, Sims rising above everyone else to meet Williams’ corner to give Oxford the lead.

Crawley was awarded a penalty in the 58th minute when Hines was adjudged to have fouled Rabson in the box, Naomi Cole firing low past Watson from 12 yards to restore parity.

Two further goals in quick succession for the home side would turn the game on its head, the first through Rabson after 58 minutes, followed by a Darcy James header three minutes later, the Wasps’ number 5 getting the best of the U’s defence to convert from a corner.

Frankie Gibbs was sent off after she lashed out, hitting Cheryl Williams in the face.

With ten players and little time remaining, Wasps were able to remain resolute and secure 3 points.

The win strengthens Crawley’s lead at the top, while condemning title rivals Oxford to their first league defeat of the season.

Crawley Wasps 3-1 Oxford United

Attendance: 125

Argyle make it five on the bounce

For the second time in as many games over 1,000 supporters flocked to Stadium MK to support The Dons as they welcomed high-flying Plymouth.

Plymouth opened the scoring after 20 minutes, Rebecca Dandridge breaking the line before finishing calmly past Kirby to give the visitors the lead.

Southern Premier top scorer, Natasha Knapman, doubled the Pilgrims’ lead four minutes later, finishing to give Argyle their second of the day, and Knapman’s eleventh of the season.

The deficit was halved after 37 minutes when Katie Middleton inadvertently headed the ball into her own net following a corner.

Plymouth began the second half at a blistering pace and found the net within minutes, Helen Bleazard finishing excellently to retore a two-goal lead.

Jessie Jones made it four for the visitors just before the hour mark, a thunderous effort beating Emma Kirby from 25-yards to almost certainly secure the points for Argyle.

MK Dons were unfortunate not to find the net during the second half, but it was a clinical Plymouth side that would extend their lead even further, Kayley Lane finishing in the 89th minutes to make it five in a row for Plymouth.

With 5 goals on the bounce, finding the net 26 times in the process, Argyle has gone from looking like dark horses to genuine contenders.

MK Dons 1-5 Plymouth Argyle

Attendance: 1,109

Honours even in Dorchester

Yeovil began the season with great promise but were winless in four weeks heading into Sunday’s fixture against an in-form Cardiff side who had strung together 5 victories in a row.

Sarah Wiltshire was unable to convert from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute, putting her shot wide for the scores to remain level.

Five minutes later and Cardiff took the lead through Gwen Davies’ calm finish following excellent build play from Grace Horrell.

Aldridge almost levelled for the hosts, before Katie Jones made no mistake after Cardiff failed to deal with a corner, Jones smashing the ball into the net from eight yards to draw level.

The game concluded with the scores even, a result that isn’t ideal for either team as they looked to keep up with the division pace-setters.

The result means Cardiff occupy 3rd place, while Yeovil sit 5th in the FAWNL Southern Premier Division.

Yeovil Town 1-1 Cardiff City

Attendance: 229

How things stand