A determined performance from AFC Wimbledon Ladies was enough to earn a creditable point against title chasers Billericay on a day when history was made at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
The highlight of Sunday’s match came when Faye Baker made a brilliant penalty save, denying the visitors the breakthrough in a 0-0 draw.
The Dons had the better of the early stages of the game, but crosses from Rebbeca Carter and Hannah Billingham were unable to be met in front of goal. However, the referee awarded Billericay a controversial penalty in the 35th minute after Steph Mann made a challenge in the area that appeared to win the ball. Thankfully, Faye Baker came up with a brilliant save from the resulting penalty with Billericay hitting the post from the rebound. The Dons were spurred on by that and ended the half strongly as an Ashlee Hincks free-kick was deflected, skimming the top of the bar as the first half drew to a close.
Wimbledon started the second half strongly with Emily Donovan coming close to opening the scoring two minutes into the second-half but her lob landed on the roof of the net. The Dons kept going and another Ashlee Hincks free-kick gave the Billericay keeper a scare, before ending up in the side netting.
With 15 minutes to go the Dons made a double substitute in an attempt to try and strike a late winner. Gloria Siber and Rebecca Carter were replaced by Chloe Sampson and Lauren Pickett. The return of Pickett was a welcome sight for the Dons after a lengthy period out due to injury and she almost made an immediate impact with a near perfect pass to Ashlee Hincks, who set up Emily Donovan, but her shot was just wide.
The Dons had a number of corners towards the end, the pick of which resulted in a goal-line clearance from Billericay, but a late winner proved to be elusive.
After the game, manager Kevin Foster said: “I thought you saw the two best teams in the league today in terms of the quality, pace and athleticism of the game. It could have gone either way with chances at both ends, but it was a fantastic and entertaining game to watch.”
Player of the Match Faye Baker said: “It is a little bit frustrating and disappointing. They probably edged it in the first half with the better of the chances, but in the last 15 minutes we came on and had two or three really good chances to get a winner. It was a game for the neutral, but it was very even across the pitch and a bit of a feisty affair - very end to end and fast paced.”
Dons: Faye Baker, Emily Oliver, Hannah Billingham, Steph Mann, Kelly Highman, Rebecca Sargent, Megan Stow, Emily Donovan, Ashlee Hincks, Gloria Siber (Chloe Sampson), Rebecca Carter (Lauren Pickett).
Pic credit: Glyn Roberts