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Milton Keynes Dons 3 Woodley Utd 1
Milton Keynes Dons won the Berks & Bucks FA Senior Cup Final for the first time with a 3-1 victory over Woodley United after a well contested match at Abingdon United FC.
The South East Combination team were contesting the final for the first time and were pushed all the way by their Southern Region League title chasing opponents but two goals either side of the hour mark gave Dons a lead they held to the end.
A very early strike gave Dons the start they wanted. Early pressure won a corner on the right and Charly Wright delivered a perfectly flighted ball which carried beyond everyone and, helped by the strong breeze, curled in off the far post in the fourth minute.
Dons continued to dominate and Woodley keeper Lisa Phillips saved well from Chloe Smith. The same player delivered another inswinging corner, this time low from the left. which was cleared off the line by Nicola Froud then went close with a header minutes later.
Woodley looked lively in their breakaway attacks but it was a corner which lead to their equaliser on 28 minutes. A short corner routine gave Jo Walsh-Perks the chance to deliver an inviting cross from the left which was flicked on by Ranai Bird for Jessica Grimmett to volley home from close range.
Deanna Peters looked well placed to give Woodley the lead but was stopped in the act of shooting by an excellent tackle from Claire Hollingsworth. Dons nearly regained the lead through Leah Cudone after some defensive hesitancy but the teams could not be separated after a lively first half.
Dons regained the lead on 52 minutes when Heather McDonnell reached a through pass ahead of the advancing keeper and lofted a first time finish from wide on the right. Walsh-Perks was very unlucky not to equalise with a beautifully struck free kick from 25 yards which bounced down off the bar and just evaded the onrushing Froud.
This pivotal moment in the match was highlighted when Dons went further ahead on 65 minutes. Lil Stanton picked a loose ball 30 yards out and measured a perfect shot beyond Phillips' reach high into the left corner.
Woodley again reacted well to the setback and pushed Dons back for much of the rest of the match. Christie Turner made two good last ditch tackles and keeper Emma Kirby was decisive in reacting to danger as the lead was successfully protected. Dons also looked dangerous on the break, once moving the ball the length of the pitch was five first time passes as they nearly added to their advantage.
Milton Keynes Dons were joined in the celebrations of their first Senior Cup by men's club chairman Pete Winkelman as his club prepare to host the FA Women's Cup Final for the first time. The FA Womens' Cup itself was on display throughout an excellently run and organised Finals Day but Dons were more than happy to lift the County FA version whilst their worthy opponents look to clinch Southern Regional League honours.
Milton Keynes Dons: Emma Kirby, Hannah Clancy, Kara Howes, Claire Hollingsworth, Jess Cutting, Hannah Barrett, Lil Stanton, Heather McDonnell, Charly Wright, Chloe Smith, Leah Cudone. Subs: Christie Turner, Megan Brockwell, Emma Brockwell, Eden Washington, Emily Mann.
Woodley United: Lisa Phillips, Sabrina Kulan, Amy Holden, Nicola Froud, Jo Walsh-Perks, Jessica Grimmett, Charlotte Chard, Ranai Bird, Deanna Peters, Lauren Hoskins, Sarah Reid. Subs: Hannah Parham, Kate Hardie, Amie Benton, Nicole Sandhu, Kimberley Davis.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Kimberley Davis battles with Kara Howes
(middle) Jo Walsh-Perks under pressure from Heather McDonnell
(bottom) Milton Keynes Dons with the cup
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