Katie Stanley’s goal proved to be the difference as MK Dons Ladies were narrowly defeated by AFC Wimbledon, who progressed to the First Round of the FA Women’s Premier League Cup.
AFC Wimbledon took the lead shortly after the second half started, when Stanley blasted home a rebound after an initial effort struck the left post.
The Dons had plenty of the ball throughout the game and put in a battling performance but were unable to make their possession count by grabbing an equaliser.
They did come close in the 83rd minute when it appeared they had scored but Charley Clarke, who had headed the ball across the line, was ruled offside by the linesman.
Both sides started the game determined to gain the upper hand, with tackles flying in from both sides. This resulted in the only chances for either side in the first 20 minutes coming from set pieces.
Jess Trimnell took a free-kick for AFC Wimbledon on the 16 minute mark from 25 yards out, however she only managed to fire it straight into Sav Smith’s arms.
The Dons followed Trimnell’s free-kick opportunity with one of their own on the 20 minute mark after Clarke was brought down 25 yards from goal. Tayla Duffy stepped up to take the free-kick, but her effort went sailing over the crossbar.
Alice Hughes was the first Dons’ player to force Callie Neat to make a save after she fired a shot from distance towards the bottom right corner of the goal, but a stretching Neat matched her effort.
The next goalscoring opportunity came from a corner for the Dons. Duffy whipped in a perfect cross, which was matched by Clarke’s leap to reach it first. Clarke headed the ball low towards the corner of the goal, but it was cleared off the line by Linsey Clarke.
Minutes before the half-time whistle blew, AFC Wimbledon thought they had taken the lead through Kelly Jade Whelan, but she was deemed offside.
AFC Wimbledon kicked-off the second half and quickly made a beeline for goal that paid off. The ball ended up striking the left post in their attack, but Stanley was the first to the loose ball and fired it into the goal to make it 1-0.
The Dons then resumed their good performance from their first half and created shooting opportunities for Leanna Doyle, Duffy and Clarke.
Substitute Zoe Lander nearly made the Dons’ possession count when she came on, as she played an inch-perfect cross from the right wing to Duffy in the box. Duffy tried to guide it home but was unable to beat Neat in goal.
At the 83 minute mark, the Dons seemed to have scored the equaliser after a free-kick was played into the box. However, the linesman ruled it out for offside as Clarke, who got the final touch of the ball, was beyond the AFC Wimbledon Ladies’ defence.
After this the Dons continued to press for the equaliser, with Louise Naylor playing in a couple of dangerous crosses, but they were unable to be turned in.
The Dons’ final chance came when Lander had an opportunity 30-yards from goal. She struck in powerfully but was unable to keep it on target, and the game ended 1-0 in AFC Wimbledon favour.
Speaking after the game Assistant Coach Charlie Bill said the following about the Dons’ performance: “There were a lot of positives to take, we asked before the game to look at the effort and desire, and the side did show that for 90 minutes.
“We lacked that in the first half an hour last week and that’s why we were 3-0 down, we can’t fault that now.
“There were a lot of times, where we had the ball 20 to 30 yards out and they stopped us which meant we really didn’t make their keeper make a save.
“We’ve got the effort and the desire there now; it’s all about adding the quality to it to paint the whole picture.”
Starting XI: Smith, Doyle (c), Naylor, Burgess, Roberts, Clarke, Hughes, Newman (Goodier, 52), Newsome, Duffy (Payne, 74), Harrison (Lander, 69)
Unused subs: Kirby, Wright.