Ladies start season in style
AFC Wimbledon Ladies will be aiming to maintain an impressive start to 2015/16 this Sunday after a superb display of finishing marched them to the top of the table.
Megan Smith marked just her second start for AFC Wimbledon Ladies with a double and player of the match Kelly-Jade Whelan (pictured) also got in on the act to earn a 5-1 win at Leyton Orient last weekend.
It means that the Dons go to Regents Park Rangers top of the pile in the London and South East Regional Women’s Premier Division with a plus-seven goal difference after two games.
Manager Chris Lyons made five changes to his starting line-up at Orient and the victory highlighted the depth and quality of his squad.
Wimbledon had to earn the right to play good football as their defence stood firm under early Orient pressure. However, Smith provided a great platform for the Dons to build on by breaking the deadlock in the ninth minute. Smith was picked out after a fine passing move and she produced an emphatic finish that left the Orient goalkeeper with no chance. It was a similar move that saw Smith put the Dons two-up on 26 minutes.
In the second-half Chris Lyons made his first change. An injury to forward Wylie saw Clifford enter the action, and for the second week running, the Dons came out firing on all cylinders. Within two minutes, Smith, who had terrorised Orient’s full back all game, delivered a perfect cross for Whelan to head home for 3-0.
With 20 minutes left there was a key change for Wimbledon with Ellen Martin returning at full-back after putting a hamstring injury behind her. It wasn’t long before Martin made a key contribution, albeit with a huge slice of fortune, as her intended cross looped over the Orient goalkeeper to make it 4-0.
In-form Dons goalkeeper Shanell Salgado was finally beaten six minutes from time as Orient netted a consolation, but Wimbledon had the final word within a minute of the restart. Rebecca Sargent, who played her first full game in five months, produced a trademark run into the box and was sent sprawling in the area. Captain Jess Trimnell made no mistake from 12 yards to round off the scoring.
Chris Lyons said: “We’ve put in a solid performance against a team who last week took all three points from title rivals Fulham. I’m particularly pleased because it’s been a difficult week for some of our players as they had battled through illness and injury to perform.
“We took our chances well, and defended when we needed to, and that was the difference between the two teams. Our game management was also very good so that when we got in front the tactical side of our game helped control the game.
“It is good for the women’s game to see League Two Orient come in to support a team previously called KIKK United. With Fulham also backing a ladies team in our league, and the fantastic support we get from our club, it shows the profile of the women’s game is rising.”
Kelly-Jade Whelan received the player of the match award from the opposition.
AFC Wimbledon: Salgado, Fleur R (Martin 70), Houghton-North, Carnell, Clarke, Trimnell, Sargent, Hoesli-Atkins, Smith, Whelan, Wylie (Clifford 46). Sub not used Tylee.