MK Dons Ladies narrowly avoided a shock FA Women’s Cup exit on Sunday afternoon, beating Leighton United Vixens 4-2 on penalties.
Hannah Barrett’s late strike sent the tie to a shoot-out after Leighton United had overturned Emily Mann’s opener, with the Dons’ Ladies keeping their cool from the spot to book their place in the First Round Proper.
Matt French’s side, who came into the game on the back of an impressive 2-0 win over Brentwood Town, took the lead after just 11 minutes when Mann’s shot crept in at the far post.
The Dons did push for a second to before half-time but shortly after the re-start they were made to rue their missed chances when the hosts pulled level.
United, who were by far the better side in the second half, then turned the tie on its head several minutes later as they took a deserved lead, leaving the Dons Ladies with it all to do in the final half an hour.
And the visitors were dealt a further blow when goalkeeper Trip Witney was forced off with an injury, leaving midfielder Charly Wright to don the gloves for the remainder of the contest.
Just as it seemed as though nothing could go right for the Ladies, striker Barrett was able to latch onto a hopeful ball over the top of the Leighton United defense and save the day with an exquisite lob over the advancing ‘keeper.
However, with neither side able to find a decisive goal late-on or in extra time, the tie went to penalties and after the Dons scored all three of their spot-kicks, stand-in ‘keeper Wright saved two, to secure a 4-2 shoot-out win and set-up a clash with Loughborough Foxes in the next stage of the competition.