Promotion setback for Dons after late heartbreak

London Seaward 1-1 AFC Wimbledon

by George Jones – AFC Wimbledon

Above: AFC Wimbledon come together after their game in East London last night. Photo: Emily Topping.

There was late heartbreak for AFC Wimbledon last night as they conceded a 93rd minute equaliser at London Seaward that dealt a blow to their tier four FA Women’s National League Division One South-East title ambitions.

Despite a positive performance from the Dons, hosts London Seaward levelled matters right at the death to ensure the points were shared in difficult conditions.

With the rain pouring down in East London, kick-off was delayed due to a number of Dons players getting stuck in traffic in the surrounding area. However, when the game did get underway it was an encouraging start from the visitors.

Gloria Siber and Emma Plewa looked lively down the flanks on a pitch that made it difficult to play the style of football that has led to so much success for Wimbledon in recent weeks.

With the game having a physical edge, the Dons had a number of early chances, the pick of which came when Emily Donovan forced the home keeper into a good save. Ten minutes later the breakthrough was made as a Becki Bath free-kick was flicked into the net by Seaward’s Giorgia Bracelli to give the AFC Wimbledon a deserved lead at half time.

In the second-half, Wimbledon created even more opportunities, starting with Ellie Dorey, whose shot went over the bar after some fine work from Gloria Siber. However, the save of the night came from Faye Baker, who in her first game back after injury, produced a fine save at full stretch to deny the hosts an equalising goal.

Wimbledon continued to push for the all-important cushion of a second goal with Bath forcing the home keeper into a fine save, before Lauren Heria came on for her Dons debut. This was shortly followed by another great chance as a curling effort from Siber struck a post. With 10 minutes to go, the physical nature of the game and Wimbledon’s busy fixture list began to take its toll as Seaward began to dominate the closing stages and the sting in the tail came deep into injury-time. 

Dons manager Kevin Foster said: “It is so tough with these Thursday night fixtures. It has taken some of these girls two and a half hours to get here and we had to delay kick-off – the players going out there without any sort of warm-up. They have ultimately just done it and given it their best. I couldn’t be more proud of the way they stuck with it.”

The draw leaves AFC Wimbledon four points behind leaders Hashtag United in second place. There is no respite for the Dons with a game at Loftus Road versus Queen’s Park Rangers. This is followed by a game at home to Cambridge City at Plough Lane on 2nd April.

Teams: LONDON SEAWARD: Garwood, Butler, Cockerill, Lee, Anderson, Cannon, Davies, Bracellli, Lanza, Arayo, Long. Substitutes: Nash, Trezzi, Burrows, Zimmerer, Bradley.

Scorer: Zimmerer 90+3′.

AFC WIMBLEDON: Baker, Russell, Highman, Billingham, Sampson, Ali, Donovan, Dorey, Plewa (Heria), Siber, Bath.

Scorer: Bracelli (OG) 33′.

Attendance: 63.

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