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Captain sparks fightback to extend lead at the top

AFC Wimbledon Women increase advantage to nearest challengers

20 November 2023

AFC Wimbledon Women showed resilience in abundance to extend their lead at the top of FA Women's National League Division One South East.

The Dons were 1-0 down at half-time, but bounced back emphatically after the break to defeat visitors London Seaward 4-2 in the match played at Carshalton.

With Norwich having to settle for a point versus Worthing, it meant that Kevin Foster's side extended their lead to seven points, ahead of their nearest challengers, who have played two games less.

Such a perfect Sunday scenario looked far from likely for a large period of this game, before captain Hannah Billingham's intervention as she played a big part in the first two Wimbledon goals and earned the Player of the Match award. 

Despite Ashlee Hincks having an effort cleared off the line early on, the visitors made the breakthrough after four minutes, and stubbornly defended their lead throughout the first-half.

Dons keeper Faye Baker was also called into action just before the end of the first-half, but there was still time before the interval for Molly Childerhouse to go close - her excellent shot from outside the area fizzing across goal.

And with the Dons having made little impression by the hour mark, Kevin Foster made his first change with Emily Donovan making way for Sandra Soares Martins.

The all-important equaliser followed with Billingham's influence proving to be pivotal as she sent over a fantastic cross in the direction of Soares Martins, but it was diverted in for an own goal. Another fine cross from Billingham resulted in a second as a handball in the box provided Ashleigh Goddard with an opportunity from 12 yards - and she made no mistake.

As the clock ticked towards the final 15 minutes, Goddard sent a lovely, chipped ball towards Ashlee Hincks, who controlled it beautifully. The number nine took the ball down, and calmly slotted home past the Seaward goalkeeper, to make it 3-1.

Though the visitors reduced the arrears, Wimbledon sealed victory in the latter stages after Nicola Gibson replaced Ellie Dorey before the game entered added time.

Soares Martin got the goal she deserved after her introduction when she slotted home after getting on the end of a cross from Ashlee Hincks.

The 4-2 win was hard earned, but ultimately crucial, as it extended the lead over Norwich, who hosts the Dons in a vital showdown on 3 December.

Pic credit: Emily Topping

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