Plymouth Argyle u-19s reach knockout stages in Gothenburg

Two North Devon girls took on the best youth footballers in the world as Plymouth Argyle Girls u-19s reached the last 16 of the Gothia Cup last week.

17 year-old Mollie Jones from Barnstaple and 15 year-old Phoebe Baker from Torrington made the trip to Gothenburg, Sweden for the World Youth Cup, an international tournament for multiple age groups of boys and girls teams. More than 70 countries were represented by the 1,500 teams at the event.

The first group game pitted them against the current champions AIK FF from Sweden and they were narrowly beaten by a goal to nil.

Next up were another Swedish team, IK Zenith, but this time Argyle ran out convincing 4-0 winners.

The group runners-up spot and qualification to the main draw was sealed with a more than comfortable 3-0 win over KF 13 Qershori from Kosovo with Mollie bagging one of the goals.

The last 16 encounter with Swedish opponents KIF Orebro DFF was a very physical and tense affair. Plymouth led 3-2 with 10 minutes to go but the Devon side could not hang on and ultimately lost out 5-4 on penalties.

"It was great, a really good experience," said Mollie. "I feel like I've learned a lot from it.

"We were the better team in the last 16 game but let in a few silly goals and it just came down to luck on penalties really.

"I'm looking to play football at a high level but it's difficult living in a rural area."

Dad Mark Jones believes Mollie could become a top player.

"She was very keen on the idea of going over to America but that's changed a bit after looking at the costs," he said.

"Hopfully she'll get as high as she can. She's going to play for Heavitree in the Devon women's Premier league next year which should be a good step up from Barnstaple last year."

The Devon girls' academy also has high hopes for Phoebe, who has another year with the Plymouth-based academy ahead of her.