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Ladies' historic cup campaign comes to end

10 January 2017

MK Dons Ladies’ landmark Women’s FA Cup campaign came to an end at the hands of Southern Division‘s Coventry United Ladies, who scored four times to ensure the win.

The Dons had already gone the furthest they ever had in the FA Cup this season ahead of the tie, but were unable to get past their higher-ranked opposition.

Coventry United piled on the pressure from the start, grabbing the first goal of the game on 13 minutes through Maz Gauntlett.

The second goal came merely four minutes later, as Alison Hall took the ball round Emma Kirby to calmly slot the ball into the back of the net.

The Dons then kept Coventry United at bay until the second half through hard work, but could not stop Amber Hughes grabbing a third goal for Coventry United at 62 minutes.

Coventry United completed their impressive performance when Gauntlett scored with three minutes left, making it 4-0 to her side.

Coventry United are now in the draw for the third round of the Women’s FA Cup while the Dons refocus on aiming for promotion from the South East Division 1.

Coventry started the game strong, forcing the first corner of the game after just four minutes.

The corner nearly gave Coventry a very quick start as Callan Barber whipped in a dangerous ball which Gauntlett went close to converting, but fired over instead.

After going close to an early goal, Coventry were successful in grabbing the lead through Gauntlett, who had gone close before.

The goal came after Hughes won the ball back, before laying the ball off to Hall who crossed the ball into the box for Gauntlett to calmly blast the ball past Kirby and make it 1-0 to the hosts.

Coventry United Ladies did not wait long to double their advantage as Hughes played an inch-perfect through ball to Hall, who then skilfully took the ball around the keeper and smashed it into an empty net on 17 minutes.

The Dons battled to try and work a way back into the game but were unable to create any goalscoring opportunities.

Coventry United Ladies tried to make it 3-0 from a free-kick before half-time to discourage the Dons’ comeback, however Gauntlett was unable to get her effort on target.

The Dons held Coventry United Ladies to only a two-goal lead despite the intense pressure from them, through half-time and up until the 60th minute.

Coventry United Ladies were nearly able to break down a resistant Dons’ side once again on the hour mark through Barber but Kirby made an impressive save. Barber’s powerful effort was tipped over the bar by a stretching Kirby.

Kirby could not deny Coventry United Ladies minutes later though, as Hughes found herself in space before striking the ball into the corner of the goal, making it 3-0.

The Dons then went on the attack, with Hannah Barrett, Leah Cudone and Charly Wright having efforts, but none of them were able to breach Coventry United’s goal.

After several Dons’ attacks, Coventry United Ladies showed how clinical they were as Gauntlett grabbed the opportunity to score her second goal of the game with three minutes left.

Manager James Honeyman was proud of his team’s performance and believed the game was a good learning experience.

Speaking after the game, he said: “We battled well from the first minute to the last, against a very good, ruthless Coventry side.

“We learnt about ourselves - this game showed us what we need to do in order to get to the next level.”

The Dons now return to league action, when they travel to play Enfield Ladies on 15th January.

Starting XI: Kirby, Doyle, Holland,Gillings, Howes, Naylor (Newsome, 60), McDonnell, Clarke (c), Cudone, Barrett, Wright, McDonnell (Newman, 70).

Unused sub: Smith.

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