Hannah Barrett grabbed a brace to help MK Dons Ladies defeat Cambridge United Women 4-1 in front of 463 spectactors at Stadium MK, which guaranteed them second place in the league.
The Dons doubled their lead before the half-time break when Amelia Hazard powerfully struck the ball in to the top left-hand corner from the edge of the box.
However, the Dons could not hold on to their two-goal advantage for very long as two minutes later Evangeline Gallop fired home from 35 yards out to pull a goal back for the visitors
It wasn’t until midway through the second half that Barrett grabbed her second goal of the game to restore the Dons’ two-goal advantage.
This time the Dons held onto their lead, and then subsequently extended it to three goals when free-kick specialist Charly Wright curled home a free-kick from 30-yards out to make it 4-1.
With five minutes left to play, tempers flared in the game and the Dons were reduced to 10 as Anna Loftus was sent-off by the referee for her part in the commotion. Despite being a player down, the Dons held on to their 4-1 lead for the minutes that remained.
The Dons started the game brightly with Tayla Duffy registering the first shot of the game on four minutes. She shot from a tight angle almost level with the far post and was therefore unable to force the goalkeeper into an early save.
The Dons kept the pressure on the U’s, with Loftus making several darting runs into their box, but she was unable to find enough space to have a clean shot.
Barrett then made the Dons’ possession count when she found herself with the ball just outside the box - she calmly hit the ball low and hard into the bottom right-hand corner to give her side the lead.
She tried to extend the lead quickly, firing a header at goal from a Loftus corner, before trying to convert a Duffy cross but she was unable to grab her second goal at this time.
Captain Charley Clarke then went close to doubling her side’s lead when she tried to head the ball home after Duffy had crossed in a corner to her, but her effort went wide of the left post.
The Dons’ lead was doubled through Hazard, who struck the ball into the top left-hand corner after Loftus had gone on a solo run to create space.
However, only two minutes later, Gallop delivered a stunning strike from 35 yards out to pull a goal back before the break.
Both sides had chances early in the second half, but it wasn’t until the 67th minute that another goal would be scored. Barrett grabbed her second goal of the game, this time firing the ball low from inside the box.
The Dons took control of the game once they had re-established their two-goal lead, with Heather McDonnell trying her luck from distance a couple of times to extend their lead further.
With six minutes left on the clock and after the combine efforts of Kerry Newman and Loftus on a counter-attack, the Dons forced the U’s to give away a free-kick. Wright stepped up to take the free-kick from 30 yards out and curled the ball into the top left-hand corner with ease.
After taking a 4-1 lead, the Dons were left with only 10 players on the pitch. Tempers flared with several players coming together after Loftus was deemed to have made a foul. Loftus was then sent-off by the referee.
Despite having a player less on the pitch, the Dons were able to hold on to their 4-1 victory and secure second place in South East Division 1 with a game to spare.
Speaking after the game, manager James Honeyman said: "I thought we were fantastic from the first minute to the last, we controlled the game and dominated the ball well.
"We’re very proud to finish second, Cambridge are a very good side and we had to be at our best.
"We know we have a strong squad with quality coming through, so I’m very proud of what we achieved here tonight."
Honeyman also looked ahead to next season, stating: "The hard work begins now, we have set the bar for next year and we know we want to be competing for the top three places next year."
"We have a big summer ahead of building on what we have so far, but I cannot wait to go again."
Starting XI: Smith, Doyle, Gillings, Holland, Naylor (Howes 58), Clarke (c), Hazard, Duffy (Wright 65), Loftus, Barrett (Newman 78), McDonnell.
Unused Subs: Gooderham, Goodier.
Goals: Barrett (10 & 67), Hazard (32) & Wright (84).
Bookings: Doyle, Howes, Holland.