AFC Wimbledon Ladies avenged an early season defeat against Billericay Town to secure an important league victory on Sunday.
Following a difficult spell since bowing out of the Women’s FA Cup at the fourth round stage, Wimbledon bounced back to form to earn a 2-1 win, thanks to goals from Megan Kowalski and Hannah Baptiste (pictured left and right above).
With Edie Kelly back in goal after her injury in the FA Cup, the team was still missing some regulars, while welcoming Jennie Brereton back to the starting line-up from the reserves. The weather was blustery and damp, but it did not affect Wimbledon’s spirit as they started strongly. Just after the half hour, it appeared that Rebecca Sargent was set for a return to scoring form. Caroline Bisson’s free-kick picked her out after Georgia Heasman had been fouled, but the header was over the crossbar. Both teams were pressing and it was end to end stuff, but no goals followed in the first-half, despite Wimbledon showing plenty of skill and determination.
The second-half started with Wimbledon continuing a high intensity, and seeking the first goal. With Jess Trimnell commanding her troops from midfield and Sian Wylie putting in some terrific runs on the right, The Dons started to find Kowalski and Heasman. With 52 minutes gone, the opening goal arrived when Heasman’s shot was parried and Kowalski followed up to make it 1-0. Two minutes later, Jordanne Hoesli-Atkins put in a tackle on the edge of the area. The crowd held its breath and crossed its fingers, but the subsequent free-kick missed the top left corner.
The weather was deteriorating with blustery wind and the rain coming down, but Wimbledon continued to attack and Caroline Bisson came close from open play and free-kicks. With almost 15 minutes left to play, Hannah Baptiste replaced Heasman. It was getting tense as Billericay were pushing for a goal and the Dons needed a second to feel secure. On 85 minutes, Bisson made yet another run down the right and passed square to Hannah Baptiste, who slid the ball past the keeper from short range. Three minutes later and Billericay grabbed a consolation goal, but Wimbledon held on for a victory that means they are just five points off third place in National Women’s League Division 1 South East.
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Starting line-up: 1 Edie Kelly, 16 Jordanne Hoesli-Atkins, 17 Sian Wylie, 18 Kelly Highman, 22 Jennie Brereton, 6 Jess Trimnell (C), 8 Rebecca Sargent, 5 Rosie Russell, 9 Caroline Bisson, 2 Megan Kowalski, 15 Georgia Heasman
Subs: 3 Linsey Clarke, 11 Hannah Baptiste, 23 Lily.