Hannah Barrett helped ensure that the MK Dons Ladies made it through to the fourth round qualifying of the SSE FA Women’s Cup with a hat-trick against Actonians Ladies.
Barrett then doubled the lead from a cross-cum-shot, whipping the ball towards goal from the left wing causing the keeper to scramble, and even though the keeper got a hand to it, it proved to be too powerful and went into the top right corner of the net.
Barrett grabbed her final goal of the game and the Dons’ third after Leanna Doyle whipped in an inch-perfect cross, which Barrett attempted to score with a header only to have her effort saved, but then she calmly slotted home the rebound to ensure she got the match ball.
Kara Howes wrapped up the goal scoring for the Dons just before the final whistle. After darting down the wing, she attempted a near post cross, and she too found the ball coming back to her and responded by blasting it into the net, to make it 4-0.
The Dons started the game fast earning themselves several corners, which led to Charly Wright and Charley Clarke both having opportunities to put the Dons in front.
Though it wasn’t long until the Dons went 1-0 up, when Newman burst down the wing and crossed the ball to Barrett at the edge of the box, who emphatically volleyed the ball to the left of the Actonians’ goalkeeper, leaving her rooted to the spot.
Howes instantly tried to make it 2-0, with her side winning the ball back, allowing her to sprint down the wing, cut inside, and fire a shot, however it went wide of the right hand post.
Newman then tried to get herself a goal to go with her earlier assist, making several dangerous runs forward, but wasn’t unable to test the keeper with her shots.
Barrett doubled the Dons’ advantage by firing the ball from the left wing into the top right corner of the net, despite the keeper’s best efforts.
The Dons then started the second half as strong the first, with Sarah Harrison having an effort which went close.
Barrett confirmed her hat-trick, as Doyle found Barrett in space in the box with a beautiful cross which Barrett attempted to head pass the keeper. The keeper saved her header but could do nothing to stop Barrett’s follow up shot, which she slid into the bottom right corner of the goal to make it 3-0 to the Dons.
Barrett attempted to grab another goal before being subbed for Leah Cudone, as she got on the end of Wright’s cross in the box and headed it at the goal, but the keeper denied her a fourth.
Cudone and Sasha Newman went close next, with Cudone’s shot from distance just going above the crossbar and Sasha Newman firing a header at goal, which the keeper saved.
The Dons then found themselves with some defending to do from a free-kick but Louise Naylor was able to clear the danger and ensure the clean sheet.
With not long left on the clock, Howes got herself a goal after a promising run down the wing allowed her to attempt a low cross to the near post. The keeper blocked her cross getting to Cudone in the box, but pushed the ball back into a charging Howes’ path who took her opportunity to grab her first goal of the season.
Howes after the game spoke about how happy she was about scoring her first goal of the season and her team’s performance. She said: “It was good, it was a good feeling. I worked hard for it and I just saw an opportunity so I took it.
“I think we played well today, we persevered all together, we worked hard for each other and it was a deserved win.”
Manager James Honeyman echoed his player’s thoughts when talking about his side’s efforts against Actonians Ladies. He said: “It was our best performance of the season, I thought we dominated, started the first half well and got the goal.
“Then we continued to dominate in the second half, we scored the second goal just before half time which settled us down and then were able to start the second half quickly which we haven't done previously this season.”
Honeyman was particularly happy about his side keeping a clean sheet: “The girls spoke to themselves about getting a clean sheet before the game and how they wanted to get one.
“It was good to get one, and to get one so comfortably was great, we never looked in danger of losing that clean sheet, the girls managed the game which they may be felt they had to do after recent weeks and that was simply brilliant.”
The Dons now progress to the fourth round qualifying of the SSE Women’s FA Cup which takes place on Sunday 13th November.
MK Dons: Smith, Howes, Doyle, Naylor, Holland, Clarke (McDonnell 82), Harrison, Newsome, Newman (Gillings 73), Wright, Barrett (Cudone 63)
Unused subs: Kirby
Goals: Barrett (13, 40, 53) Howes (90).