Hannah Barrett struck late to earn MK Dons Ladies the win against a resilient Lowestoft Town.
The Dons left it late despite controlling a large chunk of the game and having several opportunities through Heather McDonnell, Wright and Barrett.
Savannah Smith also played an important role in securing the win for the Dons, pulling off some vital saves in the last five minutes of the game to hold on to the clean sheet.
The Dons started the game brightly, patiently passing the ball around trying to create the right opportunity.
The breakthrough nearly came in the early stages of the game through McDonnell who, at the seven-minute mark, saw the Lowestoft goalkeeper off her line and try to the lob ball over her into the goal, only to see the ball land on the roof of the net.
McDonnell then had another opportunity shortly after to put the Dons in front after Leanna Doyle had launched the ball forward from defence. Barrett headed the ball down to McDonnell, who struck it on the volley but was unable to keep it on target.
Barrett had her first opportunity of the game moments later, attempting to head home Wright’s corner but she headed it narrowly over instead.
Before the end of the first half, the Dons had two more chances through McDonnell.
The first came when Barrett hit a powerful shot from just outside the box, which the keeper parried in to McDonnell’s path. McDonnell couldn’t get the ball fully under her control to make the most of it, with the keeper recovering and charging at her feet to deny her.
The second came courtesy of Sammy Gillings bursting down the wing before crossing the ball to McDonnell in the box, but her shot went wide of the right post.
McDonnell kick-started the Dons’ attack in the second half as well, as she found herself with the ball just outside the box within two minutes of the restart. McDonnell’s shot this time went wide of the left post.
Lowestoft Town continued to frustrate the Dons, limiting the Dons ability to create clear cut chances with their tight marking and constant closing down.
Wright, however, found herself in space with the ball 35-yards out from goal and forcefully struck the ball at goal, only to be denied by the crossbar.
The Dons then made all three substitutions within 10 minutes of each other, as they looked to change things up in order to find the breakthrough.
McDonnell and Barrett continued to have opportunities, with McDonnell going particularly close with a header from inside the box but the keeper pushed it wide.
The elusive goal eventually came after Wright had attempted to cut inside from the right wing, only to be brought down and awarded a free-kick. Wright expertly whipped that free-kick into the box, where Barrett fired it into the goal.
After falling behind, Lowestoft Town Ladies went on the attack, creating several opportunities to get the equaliser.
However, Smith pulled off some acrobatics stops in order to keep the Dons’ clean-sheet intact as well as their lead, allowing the Dons to earn all three points.
Speaking after the game, Smith reflected on the team’s performance and her important saves in the last minutes of the game, saying: “It was a tough game. I feel like Lowestoft really improved and we had a different game-plan so it was quite hard to adjust to that.
“It’s always a worry when you’ve only got that goal and the other team start building up, threatening us in our half.
“It’s really hard under that pressure as a team to keep it in the other half and stop losing our heads, there was a lot of pressure but I did what I did.”
Honeyman echoed his goalkeeper’s thoughts and spoke of how happy he was with his team’s general performance.
He said: “I’m relieved that we got the result. I think the resilience of the girls was good today, not at one point today did we lose our heads.
“I think Lowestoft came with a clear game-plan and executed it fantastically. I think we fell into the trap of playing the way they wanted us to but we didn’t panic.”
He also singled out goal scorer Barrett, saying: “Two great saves for the keeper right at the end were vital, but Hannah Barrett once again has popped up and saved us for probably the 50th time in her career.
“I think we’re going to have to understand we can’t always rely on Hannah to save us in the final ten minutes of games like that.”
Starting XI: Smith, Doyle, Holland, Naylor (Howes 68), Gillings, Wright, Clarke (c), Hazard (Newsome 75), Gooderham (Loftus 66), Barrett, McDonnell.
Goals: Barrett (85).
Unused subs: Newman
Booking: Barrett, Doyle.