Laura Mills scored an important goal from a fabulous solo run, to help ensure MK Dons Ladies defeated Actonians 2-0 to progress in the SSE Women’s FA Cup.
The Dons could not have asked for a better start to the game, when they took the lead in the second minute through Charly Wright.
However, after taking the lead, the Dons had to endure heavy pressure from Actonians. They forced Sav Smith to make several vital saves, as well as repeatedly testing the woodwork with their efforts at goal.
Mills denied any possibility of there being late drama, by making the Dons more comfortable with the scoreline in the 83rd minute. Mills skilfully darted into the box with the ball, before firing it into the bottom left corner.
The 2-0 victory made it five wins in a row for the Dons, as well confirming their entry in the fourth-qualifying round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup.
The game had barely started when the Dons made their first effort on goal count. Some neat play found Kerry Newman with the ball on the right-wing, which she crossed to Anna Loftus at the near post. Loftus flicked the ball towards goal, and an opportunistic Wright tapped the ball across the line to give the Dons a very early lead.
Mills nearly found herself with a golden opportunity to double the lead moments later, when Loftus crossed the ball to her in the box. Mills was unable to get the ball under control to make the most of the chance.
After Mills’ chance, Actonians upped the pressure on the Dons goal, going close several times in quick succession. Smith acrobatically had to tip the ball over the crossbar when a long range shot looked like it was going in. The resulting corner was then played into the Dons’ box where a scrap for the ball occurred, with the ball eventually being fired onto the crossbar.
The danger did not stop there for the Dons, as six minutes after nearly conceding Actonians were charging at goal once again. This time Smith successfully got down to an effort before following that up with another reaching save from a long distance effort.
Before the end of the first-half, play was broken up by a succession of free-kicks awarded to Actonians. The Dons defended well to ensure they held on to their narrow lead into the break.
After the restart, Newman nearly created a chance for Mills to grab a goal when she chipped the ball towards her, but Mills’ shot that followed was blocked.
Actonians followed Mills’ effort once again by going on the attack, winning a free-kick 25-yards from goal. The free-kick was hit low towards the left corner of the goal, and smacked the left post before being cleared.
On the 83rd minute mark, Mills secured the victory with an impressive solo effort. After being played the ball just outside the box, Mills expertly worked her way into the box before calmly firing the ball into the bottom left corner past a charging goalkeeper to make it 2-0.
In stoppage time, Actonians struck the crossbar once again after another powerful shot was aimed at the Dons’ goal.
Despite the Actonians’ efforts at goal, the Dons were able to hold on to their victory and the clean sheet.
Speaking after the game, goalscorer Mills said the following about the team’s performance: “I think we could have done better in all honesty but we did take some of the chances. We had a good spell in the first five to ten minutes when we should have taken a lot more.”
In addition to continuing to analyse the team’s performance, Mills commented on her goal which was her second in two games since joining the side.
She said: “I thought I took it well, though there were other chances in the game that could have gone a lot better. I think the team did well creating a lot of chances, and keeping them out in the second half.”
James Honeyman was disappointed with the performance but pleased with the end result. He said: “We’re pleased to get through to the next round but I don’t think it was our best performance.
“We started well, we ended well, but it was the big patch in the middle where they were on top.”
The Dons return to league action this week when they travel to face Cambridge United on Wednesday evening.
Starting XI: Smith, Doyle (c), Newsome, Roberts, Hazard, Clarke, Wright (Gillings 56), Hughes, Newman (Goodier 78), Loftus (Gooderham 67), Mills.
Goals: Wright (2), Mills (83)