Dawn Mallett, returning from injury, grabbed two goals to help MK Dons Ladies record their first win of the season.
Mallett followed Charly Wright’s early goal from a free-kick by scoring from the penalty spot near the end of the first-half.
Opponents Actonians could have pulled a goal back when they were awarded a penalty in the 65th minute but they were unable to convert.
Substitute Anna Loftus then made it 3-0 with 12 minutes to go after the Dons had broke on the counter-attack.
Mallett got her second goal with minutes remaining, this time from open-play, when she struck the ball from 25-yards out past the Actonians’ goalkeeper.
The Dons started the game quickly against Actonians Ladies, grabbing the lead in the fourth minute. Mallett had charged down Actonians’ attempts to clear the ball, before bursting towards goal with the ball. The goalkeeper came to meet her, missing the ball, and bringing down Mallett just outside her box.
The referee awarded a free-kick, which set-piece specialist Wright took, and smacked towards the goal. The ball took a deflection on its way to slotting into the bottom right corner to give the Dons the lead.
The Dons followed their early goal up with a succession of chances as Mallett had two clear attempts to double the lead.
First, she had a shot from distance which just missed the bottom left corner of the goal and then, after Amelia Hazard was brought down and the Dons were awarded a free-kick, Wright opted to not shoot but knock the ball to Mallett who powerfully struck the ball – however she couldn’t keep her effort from going over the crossbar.
The Dons then got the second goal they had been driving towards in the 36th minute through Mallett, who had charged down the Actonian’s attempt to clear the ball and then won a penalty when the keeper collided with her. Mallett took the penalty herself, blasting the ball into the left side of the goal to make it 2-0.
James Honeyman’s team had two more chances to increase their lead before half-time, with Amy Gooderham having her effort saved when she shot from inside the box and Hazard going close, firing from distance only to see her effort dribble past the wrong side of the right post.
Actonians started the second-half quickly, determined to pull a goal back, and put the Dons defence under pressure.
Louise Naylor and Sasha Newsome were both called into action to deny Actonians’ goalscoring opportunities. However, Sav Smith was then forced to make a vital save to keep her clean-sheet, and was then thankful for her crossbar, which Actonians’ rattled after taking a corner.
Minutes later Actonians had another chance to grab a goal, as they were awarded a penalty, however the chance wasn’t taken and the ball was blasted over the crossbar.
After the penalty miss, the Dons re-took control of the game, with Loftus grabbing the Dons’ third goal of the game. It came after Loftus and Lauren Goodier combined with some neat passes as they counter-attacked from an Actonians corner which was cleared. Loftus skillfully lobbed the Actonians goalkeeper to make the most of the space her and Goodier had created.
Goodier then had a couple of opportunities to get on the score sheet herself. Goodier tried to convert Charley Clarke’s chipped pass to her, but the Actonians goalkeeper was able to save it. Goodier then went close after Doyle played a free-kick to her, but this time her shot was blocked.
The Dons did manage to grab a fourth goal through Mallett, who struck from distance with enough power to not give the goalkeeper a chance and make it 4-0 to the Dons in the closing minutes of the game.
After witnessing his side’s emphatic win to earn their first win of the season, Honeyman was in a buoyant mood. He said: “It was a really well deserved three points.
“We dominated the first half but did suffer for a little bit when Actonians changed their shape at half time to make themselves more attacking. We knew it we bided our time, we could catch them on the counter and that’s exactly what we did.
“We made the subs, we’ve talked about having starters and finishers in this squad and all three girls who came on did brilliantly to finish the game for us, which was excellent.”
Honeyman was pleased at his side’s ability to keep a clean-sheet, especially as Actonians went into this game having scored 18 goals in only two league games.
He said: “It was nice today to keep a clean-sheet, we gave away one or two chances but had a good save as well as them hitting the bar, it was just the bit of luck we needed which we hadn’t quite had so far this season.”
The Dons next game sees them travel to Enfield Town Ladies in search of their first win on the road.
Starting XI: Smith, Doyle (c), Naylor, Burgess, Newsome, Hazard (Loftus 63), Gooderham (Goodier 72), Mallett, Clarke, Hughes, Wright (Holland 79).
Unused subs: Kirby, Newman.
Goal: Wright (4), Mallett (36, 90), Loftus (78).