Charlie Bill’s Women travelled to the ExWick Sports Hub in Exeter, where they gathered a 2-0 victory over their opponents in the FAWNL Cup Round of 16, courtesy of in-form duo.
The Dons relied upon their previous victory within the Vitality Women’s FA Cup, to secure their place as one of eight teams left to compete within the league tournament.
Charlie Bill made two changes to his previous starting XI. Gemma Biggadike and Hannah Samuels, who both started in the FA Cup match against Worthing, made way for Nicola Puddick and Amy McClean.
The home side asserted themselves within the opening minute of the match. A chance went begging for the Grecians as the ball delivered into the area flew past the bodies situated within. A warning sign for MK Dons, who looked to respond rapidly.
Following the early scare, clear chances were far and few between within the opening stages of the match. On the 15-minute mark, the Dons initially found their way through Exeter’s back-line. Although, the hosts were quick to recover and prevented any further danger from the attack.
23 minutes into the fixture, this season’s current top goal-scorer, Mollie Coupar, found the back of the net once again. The number 18’s tenacity allowed her to intercept a pass from the back, which was then followed by a composed finish around the opposition’s goalkeeper. 0-1
Coupar is currently one goal away from 15 goals scored throughout all competitions. Not only that, but the forward has also amounted a total of 15 goal contributions within 15 appearances so far this season. An impressive start to the 2022/23 campaign.
After the opener, the Grecians attempted to fight their way back into the game, however, Sansom was yet to be tested. Whilst Exeter searched for an equaliser, Charlie Bill’s Women sought to double their lead. The home side’s goalie was called upon twice in quick succession to prevent a further advantage for the Dons before the break.
MK Dons led 1-0 as the referee signalled for half time.
Much like the opening stages of the first 45 minutes, Exeter City came out on the front-foot. The home side created two great chances to level the game, but their failure to locate the target seemed to be their undoing. An attempt narrowly wide, swiftly followed by another which flew over the bar, taught the travelling team that the match wasn’t over yet.
With this in mind, the Dons still searched for their second. Multiple chances led to shots at goal, but they were foiled by the Grecian’s shot-stopper, who kept busy as she breathed an air of hope throughout her team.
The Fourth Official signalled a total of ten minutes to be added on in the final moments of the fixture. MK Dons had held their lead thus far, all that separated them and a place in the quarter-final was an extended period of injury time.
Angelina Nixon then guaranteed the Dons’ progression in the dying stages of the game. The substitute, who took to the field in the 75 minute, produced a creative turn to produce space between the number seven and her defender. Nixon then used this space to her advantage, she rifled a shot past Exeter’s keeper, which all but secured their quarter-final place. 0-2
Angelina Nixon remained at the top for goal contributions so far this season, as she furthered her tally to 16.
Charlie Bill’s Women ensured back-to-back cup victories within two separate tournaments. The team will face either Watford or Hashtag United Women in the quarter-final of the FAWNL Cup, which will take place on January 22.
MK Dons: Sansom (C), Warren, Puddick, Rush, Pepper (Bennett 45), Wood (Mitchell 80), Miles, Gould (Samuels 90+10), Coupar (Nixon 75), McClean (Miceli 70), Newman
Goals: Coupar 23, Nixon 90+10
Photos captured by CTFPhotography