AFC Wimbledon 2-0 Queen’s Park Rangers (17/2/22)
Above: Action from Plough Lane last night. Photo: Glyn Roberts.
From George Jones, AFC Wimbledon Ladies
AFC Wimbledon extended their unbeaten run to 13 games with an incredible win under the lights at Plough Lane against a very well-drilled QPR side in the FA Women’s National League Division One South-East last night.
The Dons went into the game against a Rangers side who were unbeaten in 2022 knowing a win was required to stay within touching distance of the top two as Hashtag and Billericay both had winnable games against London Seaward and Kent Football United respectively.
Wimbledon had the best of the early exchanges with Chloe Sampson and Katie Stanley linking up well either side of Ashlee Hincks who went into the game having scored her 30th goal of the season on Sunday. However despite some good build up play from the Dons a lack of quality in the final third, lead to a scrappy first half and the half-time scoreline of 0-0 was a fair reflection of that.
The second half however was a different story with the Dons growing into the game and building more and more pressure in search of the opening goal. The feel of the game was very much of if the Dons got the first goal the game would open up allowing the hosts to increase their lead.
The first clear chance of the second half fell to Chloe Sampson but her shot went just wide of the keeper’s left hand post. With 25 minutes remaining, Molly Childerhouse replaced Chloe Sampson to add more steel into midfield to allow Megan Stow to play a more advanced role.
The Dons kept applying the pressure and came agonizing close with 15 minutes remaining as Rebecca Sargent got onto the end of an Ashlee Hincks corner however the header was just wide. With 10 minutes remaining it was looking like the Dons would not get the goal they so deserved.
Then, the ball fell to centre-back Kelly Highman just outside the QPR penalty area, and what followed can only be described as a goal of the season contender as the ball flew into the keeper’s top right-hand corner.
After the Dons took the lead the game did open up and sure enough this favoured the hosts as Ashlee Hincks finished off a brilliant solo counter-attack to double the lead by scoring her 31st goal of the season in only 25 games.
Results elsewhere did not go the Dons way as Hashtag United and Billericay both won their games meaning that AFC Wimbledon still need them to slip up between now and the end of the season to have a chance of claiming the sole promotion spot to enter the third tier of women’s football.
With the FAWNL Plate Semi-Final still to come, it is sure to be an incredible end to the season for the Dons. Before all of that though the Dons are back in Capital County Cup action on Sunday when they face Ashford Town (Middx) at Carshalton Athletic FC.
Speaking after the match, El Sueno Tequila Player of the Match Megan Stow said “It was a tough game, the first 45 we were forcing a lot, didn’t take our time and they sat in and moved side to side but in the second half we picked up some momentum were more patient and ground out two goals, unbelievable finish from Kelly Highman it was goal of the season for me already and nice little one from Ashlee (Hincks) one on one with the goalkeeper so class all round that we kept going and were patient and got the win.”
AFC Wimbledon manager Kevin Foster said “We were slow to start, to be fair to QPR they set up in a way to make it difficult for us to break them down and they did it really well. We had to stay patient and in the second half we started putting things a bit better and patterns started coming in a bit more and we started growing into the game and fortunately out of nowhere Kelly Highman has put one in the top corner which is unbelievable from her.”
Teams: AFC WIMBLEDON: Baker, Russell, Highman, Sargent, Billingham, Mann, Donovan (Taylor), Stow, Sampson (Childerhouse), Hincks, Stanley (Pickett). Unused Subs: Fowler, Oliver.
Scorers: Highman 81′, Hincks 90+2.
QUEEN’S PARK RANGERS: McLean, Petit, Searle, Blodgett, Grieve, Jordinson, Kumaning, Hennessey, Edwards, Moore, Hall. Substitutes: Akerman, Wardlaw, Curr, Nygaard-Parsons, Redhead-Ling.