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Women's Football News
AFC Wimbledon Ladies Development Squad were crowned Greater London League Division One Champions on Sunday following a decisive win away at Wealdstone.
The Dons were determined to finish the job even though they have another two games to play. With seven different players on the score sheet and another solid performance at the back, everyone wanted to leave their mark on this match.
Manager Roland Harding said: "The players have been fantastic all season. They deserve all the plaudits they are getting and have been terrific ambassadors for AFC Wimbledon."
Roland also paid tribute to coaches John Parker and Gavin Ford who have worked with the players all season and to Lewis Carter who recently joined the coaching staff.
The Dons Development Squad were new entrants into the GLWFL Division One, having played last season in the Surrey County League Premier Division. This move represented a step up and with a new team made up from largely an Under-18 age group, this promised to be a very challenging season. However the young players' raw talent was ably enhanced by a few more experienced players and this provided for the ideal blend of youth and experience.
The first real test of the season was an away match against the experienced Petts Wood. The young Dons showed great resilience and coped well under intense pressure from a very competitive side. Striker Allana 'Ace' Ashmeil scored a last minute winner against the run of play and the Dons escaped with three points. This set the Dons on a run of straight league wins right through to Christmas.
The team also had a good run in the FA Cup, finally losing to Crystal Palace (from three divisions higher) after extra time. The team are still in the John Greenacre Memorial Trophy following victory over Watford Development in December.
Back in the league, the Dons suffered their one defeat of the season to Northwood on 5th January but this was later avenged at home with a thrilling 9-3 win to take a clear points advantage in to the last few matches. In her first season as team captain, Jodie Weller led by example and with top scorer Georgia Heasman (21 goals so far) hitting good form, the Dons proved to be unstoppable.
However this was a real squad effort with all 18 players playing a vital part in this amazing success. Roland Harding added: "The aim at the start of this season was to focus on player development with the majority of the squad taking their first steps into adult ladies football. Despite a fantastic run in the first half of the season, we never talked about winning the league. The turning point was our one defeat and once we focused on the title, there was no turning back.
"This success was unexpected but nevertheless very well deserved as our record proves. We retain though our priority on player development and ambition for this group of young ladies to progress to the AFC Wimbledon Ladies first team."
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