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Wolverhampton Wanderers won a thrilling FA Women's Cup Third Round Qualifying tie on penalties over MK Dons after the sides had shared four goals.
Wolves goalkeeper Natalie Hall saved one spot kick before burying the tie-clinching fifth penalty at Stadium MK. In a match worthy of the luxurious setting, Dons fell two goals behind before mounting a spirited recovery, clinching extra time with two goals from Kelly Bingham.
The home side went closest to winning the match when Lauren Goodier hit the woodwork but it was Hall who had the final word, taking Wolves into the First Round proper.
The Black Country visitors set off with real purpose, going close twice even before Dani Selmes scored with a header from a third minute corner. Another corner, taken by Abby Pope, was neatly converted by skipper Anna Perks' head on 21 minutes to double Wolves' lead.
Dons had made a slow start but, inspired by the unselfish running of player of the match Bingham, they started to test the Wolves defence. Bingham played in Heather McDonnell whose powerful shot was turned away by a diving Hall on 25 minutes.
Jade Linnell was inches over with a thirty yard effort on 37 and Hannah Barrett went close as Dons forced a series of corners which kept the Wolves defence on their toes, but Dons were still two goals down at the break.
Two half time substitutions by the home side proved helpful to the Dons' cause as Goodier roamed the flanks to good effect and Leanne Burns showed calm authority on the ball in midfield. Wolves were penned in their own half for much of the second period as Goodier, Bingham and Charly Wright sought an opening and the Dons back four were first to almost every ball to keep the pressure on.
Bingham finished a fine five-player move which covered the length of the field to halve the deficit on 59 minutes but Wolves defended their advantage bravely and started to threaten more on the break.
As the clock approached 90 minutes, Dons finally found the breakthrough their concerted pressure deserved as Bingham latched onto a Wright pass and coolly slid the ball wide of Hall for the equaliser.
Wolves lifted themselves and sent in a couple of dangerous crosses early in extra time, but the closest call was a Goodier flick from a cross which struck the far post before being scrambled away on 99 minutes. Defences dominated the final part of the match as neither side could fashion a decisive opening to avoid the penalty lottery.
Wolves completed a perfect set of five penalties which Charlene Ward had no chance to save. Hall dived to her left to push out the second spot kick, a fine save which she added to with a powerful drive into the roof of the net to decide the outcome.
Both sides gave their all in a great advert for Combination football. Dons will rue their slow start and two set piece goals conceded. They then gave an excellent display for the remaining 100 minutes but Wolves showed real grit and determination to hang on for the successful outcome.
Both sides sit in third place in their respective leagues and will hope to build on their good showing in this match in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
MK Dons: Charlene Ward, Lisa Burrows, Kate Costin, Christie Turner, Heather McDonnell, Nikki Tarrant, Charly Wright, Hannah Barrett, Jade Linnell, Jo Brandon, Kelly Bingham. Subs: Lauren Goodier, Leanne Burns, Kelly Robinson.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Natalie Hall, Natalie Widdal, Emily Owen, Anna Perks, Layla Salter, Natalie Morris, Rebecca Large, Amber Quick, Dani Selmes, Abby Pope, Sarah Williams. Subs: Sophie Walker, Kirstie Bavington, Hayley Packer.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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