Dons down Ashford to seal Cup Final spot

AFC Wimbledon 5-0 Ashford Town (Middx)

Above: All smiles for AFC Wimbledon at home to Ashford Town (Middx) yesterday. Photo: Emily Topping.

by George Jones – AFC Wimbledon (20/3/23)

A debut goal by Amber Dredge rounded off a convincing Capital Cup semi-final victory for AFC Wimbledon on Sunday against fellow tier four FA Women’s National League Division One SE side Ashford Town (Middx).

Though injuries had restricted the options available to manager Kevin Foster, there was simply no stopping the Dons with the Tangerines emphatically beaten 5-0 at Carshalton Athletic FC.

And that paves the way towards a showpiece final with London Bees or Arsenal Academy awaiting in the Final.

With Wimbledon suffering from a number of injuries, a number of youth team players were called up to be on the substitutes’ bench and Sarah Wentworth made her first start in 16 months to complete her recovery from an ACL injury.

The Dons got off to a positive start by opening the scoring with less than 15 minutes on the clock. Centre-back Kelly Highman scored her second goal in as many games with a close-range finish after some fine play from Wentworth to bring down a corner. Ten minutes later the advantage was doubled as Becki Bath scored with yet another long-range screamer.

With several penalty appeals turned away by the referee and a goal also disallowed for offside, the Dons just missed out on securing the cushion of a third before the break.

However, there wasn’t long to wait for Wimbledon to extend the advantage after the interval – and it came in superb style too as Chloe Sampson scored a fantastic solo goal. With 20 minutes to go, Szofia Siber, twin sister of first-team regular Gloria, came on for her first senior appearance of the season, replacing the returning Wentworth. Seven minutes later it was 4-0 as Hannah Billingham got her second goal in three games with the help of a deflection.

With 10 minutes remaining, Elizabeth Mulvaney came on for her debut. A couple of minutes later Siber came close to striking a memorable goal as she rattled a post. Following this, the two remaining Under-23s on the bench – Amber Dredge and Chloe Gibney came on for their Dons debuts.

In the last minute, Dredge marked her debut with a powerful effort that flew into the roof of the net, leaving the visiting keeper with no chance, to put the icing on the cake.

Reflecting after the game, AFC Wimbledon head coach Kevin Foster said: “We were excellent – we passed the ball, moved it, and controlled the game throughout. We had some very positive performances out there.”

The Dons are back in action on Thursday night with a trip to East London to face London Seaward. This is followed by a visit to Loftus Road to face QPR.

Teams: AFC WIMBLEDON: Allen, Russell (Dredge), Highman, Wentworth (S. Siber), Billingham, Ali, Donovan, Dorey, Plewa (Mulvaney), Sampson, Bath (Gibney).

Scorers: Highman 14′, Bath 26′, Sampson 53′, Billingham 77′, Dredge 90′.

ASHFORD TOWN (MIDDX): Team not published.

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