Sporting Khalsa 1-4 AFC Wimbledon
Above: Hitting the target – AFC Wimbledon at Sporting Khalsa in the FAWNL National Plate Semi-Final yesterday. Photo: Glyn Roberts.
By George Jones – AFC Wimbledon Ladies (7/3/22)
AFC Wimbledon made history on Sunday by reaching their first national final since being reformed.
The journey in their FA Women’s National League Plate competition has been a long one with the Dons have already beaten Norwich City, Chesham United, Portishead Town and Portsmouth so far this season in the competition and went into Sunday’s game knowing only Sporting Khalsa stood in the way of reaching their first national final since 1994.
With Plough Lane hosting the Continental Cup Final on Saturday, the Wimbledon players were guests at the game before making their way up to the team hotel just outside Wolverhampton. Despite the late arrival at the hotel, the team were in good spirits determined to make more history in what has already been a historic season for the Dons.
The game itself got off to a scrappy start with Sporting Khalsa having the first chance as they were carrying a real threat from set-pieces. On the 15th minute mark, there was a lengthy delay after a collision between the Dons ‘keeper Lauren Allen and a Sporting Khalsa forward which forced the hosts into making a substitution thankfully Lauren was able to carry on. The rest of the first half had few clear-cut chances for either side in what was a very scrappy and physical first half.
However, the second half was a different story, and less than 60 seconds into the second half the Dons found themselves in front after Ashlee Hincks headed the Dons in front after some brilliant play from Katie Stanley out wide.
Wimbledon doubled their lead on the hour mark as Katie Stanley finished from close range with Hincks claiming the assist. With a little over 20 minutes remaining, the Dons further extended their lead as Hincks got her second and the Dons’ third goal of the game.
With 15 minutes remaining the Dons went 4-0 up with Hincks completing her hattrick and in the process scoring her 35th goal in only 27 games this season. Sporting Khalsa was able to get a consolation goal with five minutes remaining.
The Dons stayed composed and ended up deserved 4-1 winners and booked their spot in the FAWNL Plate Final where they will face Nottingham Forest who beat Cheltenham Town 3-0 in the other semi-final.
Before that the Dons are back at Plough Lane tomorrow as they face Enfield Town with a 2pm kickoff. Tickets are now available via: https://tickets.afcwimbledon.ltd.uk/selection/event/seat?perfId=101585413271&ot=0>mStepTracking=true
Dons manager Kevin Foster said: “In the first half we were not at our best. We made it quite scrappy and didn’t pass the ball as well as we could. We spoke to the players at halftime and changed a few things in the way that we do this and to be fair in the second half they have taken on board a lot of what we said and that’s probably one of the best second-half displays I’ve seen from us.”
Ashlee Hincks said: “It was a game of two halves, how we started the second half just put the game to bed early doors and from there we could enjoy the game a little bit more.”
Teams: SPORTING KHALSA: Garnham, Gallagher, Cann, Anderson, Howard, Smith, Stirrup, Morley. C.Wright, Austin-Short, Hazell. Substitutes: Parsons, Tsiga, McQuilkin, Cooper.
Scorer: Smith 82′.
AFC WIMBLEDON: Allen, Russell, Highman, Sargent, Billingham, Mann (Fowler), Donovan (Sampson), Taylor (Lewry), Hincks, Stanley, Carter (Siber).
Scorers: Hincks 46′, 69′, 75′. Stanley 60′.