Dons down league leaders to blow title race wide open

Hashtag United 0-4 AFC Wimbledon

by George Jones – AFC Wimbledon (27/2/23)

Above: AFC Wimbledon in a celebratory mood yesterday against league leaders Hashtag United in Basildon. Photo: Emily Topping.

AFC Wimbledon breathed new life into the tier four FA Women’s National League Division One South-East title race as they stormed to an incredible 4-0 win away to league leaders Hashtag United.

The Dons went into the game eight points behind the Tags with one game in hand, knowing that anything but a win could derail a title charge. However, goals from Ashlee Hincks, Emily Donovan, Becki Bath, and Emma Plewa condemned Hashtag United to their first league defeat of the season, and ensured that Wimbledon are well in the race as they enter the business end of the campaign.  

There was a less-than-ideal start for Wimbledon as Amy Taylor sustained an injury in the warm-up shortly before kick-off. Bath was drafted into the starting eleven.

With only seven minutes on the clock, Hincks put the Dons 1-0 up, scoring directly from a corner. Wimbledon kept pushing for more and got what they deserved 20 minutes in as Donovan fired off a stunning strike from 30 yards out to double the lead.

Being two goals to the good, the Dons set out to control the game. A midfield masterclass from Donovan, Bath, and Fran Ali – who made her first start for Wimbledon – alongside some fine saves from Faye Baker ensured we went into the break ahead.

The second half started much like the first, and a third goal was added less than five minutes in. This time, Bath’s head was the first to make contact with a Hincks corner, with the ball sailing past the opposition keeper.

The fourth and final goal came in the final minute of normal time, when Plewa battled past the Hashtag defence during a counter attack to put the ball in the net and confirm a resounding scoreline.

Speaking after the match, Dons goalkeeper Faye Baker said: “It was a great game. You know, very physical, feisty, end-to-end. We really put on a professional performance and got the job done. We are buzzing with three points and a clean sheet. It’s what we came to do.”

Wimbledon coach Kevin Foster reflected on how pleased he was that his team took on board his staff’s messages leading up to the match, as he said: “We were excellent. We spoke before the game and during the week about being us, and the match being about what we can do and how we can implement our style.”

The title chase continues this Sunday, when AFC Wimbledon welcome Chesham United to the Cherry Red Records Stadium, Plough Lane.

Teams: HASHTAG UNITED: Bamford, Kelly, Gillard, Canneman, Frazzoni, Wealthall, Adamson, West, Apinda, Adams, Lancaster. Substitutes: Murton, Abrehart, Rowland, Garwood, Griffiths.

AFC WIMBLEDON: Baker, Russell, Brooks (Wentworth), Highman, Plewa, Ali, Hincks, Donovan, Bath (Stow), Billingham, Dorey (Sampson).

Scorers: Hincks 7′, Donovan 22′, Bath 49′, Plewa 89′.

Attendance: 55.

Table From: FA Full-Time.

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