Ashford Town (Middx) 1-4 AFC Wimbledon
by George Jones – AFC Wimbledon Women (3/9/22)
Above: Celebrations for AFC Wimbledon at Ashford Town on Thursday night. Photo: Glyn Roberts.
AFC Wimbledon bounced back to winning form in style on Thursday night with Ashlee Hincks striking a superb hat-trick in a 4-1 win at newly promoted Ashford Town (Middx) in the FA Women’s National League Division One South-East.
The victory was achieved without captain Hannah Billingham, Emily Donovan, and Amy Taylor, but young talent Remmi Gardner stepped up impressively as she marked her first-team elevation by scoring with a lovely lob.
Aiming to make amends after Sunday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat to QPR, things certainly didn’t go to plan initially as Ashford took the lead inside 10 minutes as the home side’s dangerous striker Ashley Cheatley took advantage of a defensive mix up to put her team ahead.
The reaction that followed from the Dons was exactly what was required in the circumstances though as Ashford keeper Sophie Shults was required to make several fine saves. The woodwork was then rattled by Ashlee Hincks, who also came close to levelling the scores with a free-kick from range that went just wide.
It was starting to look like another frustrating match for the Dons, but then came that moment of brilliance from Remmi Gardner, who struck a lob from outside the penalty area that left Shults with no chance.
The second-half continued with more Dons pressure, but patience was required to gain the upper hand. With 15 minutes remaining, Ashlee Hincks bundled the ball in from close range to get her first of the season and that opened the floodgates. Two more from last season’s top scorer completed a quick-fire hat-trick, sending a warning to the rest of the league in the process.
Manager Kevin Foster said: “Unlike Sunday when we couldn’t get that breakthrough goal, we got it today, and it calmed us down, helping us to start finding the back of the net again.”
Remmi Gardner added: “I felt that we started off well, but getting the goal gave us the momentum to go and get the next three goals. I thought it was a good battle.”
With Wimbledon’s next scheduled fixture at Hounslow on Sunday having been postponed, Kevin Foster’s side have to wait until Sunday 11 September to be back in action with a game at Cheltenham Town in the FAWNL Plate.
Teams: ASHFORD TOWN (MIDDX): Shults, Kassem (Flood), O’Callaghan (Constantine), Neufville, Kinnane, Johnson, Hoseli-Atkins (Farrell), Down, Currivan, Clarabut, Cheatley.
Scorer: Cheatley 5′.
AFC WIMBLEDON: Baker, Russell, Highman, Brooks, Oliver, Mann, Gardner (Sampson), Bath, Dorey (Lockett), Carter, Hincks.
Scorers: Gardner 34′. Hincks 73′, 82′, 86′.