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AFC Wimbledon 4 Ipswich Town 3
AFC Wimbledon marked their first match in the FAWPL South East Division One with an exciting 4-3 home victory over Ipswich Town.
Behind in the second minute, the Dons drew level before the break before easing into a 4-2 lead. A late third from the Tractor Girls, who played a full part in a very good contest, made for a nervous last few minutes but the league newcomers saw the match out effectively.
Ipswich started really brightly with a good run and finish from Natasha Thomas and created several other chances to build on their second minute lead. Molly Hall went close after breaking clear and later was denied by good work from Dons keeper Shanell Salgado and defender Sami Bock. Zoe Cossey fired wide after another good build up by Hall and a dummy by Thomas left her free.
An unfortunate injury to Ipswich's Nicole Pannifer led to a lengthy break and a reshuffle. Wimbledon came more into the contest and Laura Low had their first real chance on 27 minutes, firing just wide, Ipswich keeper Leanne Smith taking a nasty knock as she closed down the Dons attacker, leading to another long delay. The same two players were in direct confrontation for the equaliser on 40 minutes, Low again breaking clear, being initially denied by a good save, but latching on to the rebound to finish neatly.
Salgado made a fine save from Hall, leaping to her left to turn away a shot a minute after the equaliser but Dons finished the half strongly in the eight added minutes.
The second half started in amazing fashion. Dons took the lead on 47 minutes when Caroline Bisson's free kick was tipped away by Smith only for Sian Wylie to get the final touch in a scramble to turn the ball home. Ipswich were level within a minute with a delightful run and powerful shot on the turn by Hollie Clement.
Just two minutes later, Lotti Klatt delivered a right wing corner which was met by a firm downward header from Dons skipper Jess Trimnell to restore the lead for the hosts.
Play was still evenly balanced, with both teams threatening at times to add to their tally. The crucial moment came on 78 minutes when, with Dons attacking, a bouncing ball struck Ipswich's Thomas on the arm and a spot kick was awarded. Trimnell converted for her second and a two-goal cushion.
Low nearly added a fifth from sub Emma Keady's cross but it was the visitors who reduced the arrears on 87 minutes when sub Samantha Walker turned home from a tight angle after Salgado had saved the initial free kick delivery from the right.
AFC Wimbledon were able to safeguard their lead with good hold up play by Bisson and others deep in the Ipswich half and were able to celebrate a hard earned victory against a good established team at this level.
AFC Wimbledon: Shanell Salgado, Jess Trimnell, Kelly-Jade Whelan, Rebecca Sargent, Caroline Bisson, Laura Low, Sami Bock, Lotti Klatt, Sian Wylie, Georgia O'Halloran, Hannah Billingham. Subs: Hannah Searle, Abi Feaver, Emma Keady, Emma Marlow.
Ipswich Town: Leanne Smith, Sian Fagg, Nicole Pannifer, Sophie Welton, Aimee Harrison, Grace Bowman, Hollie Clement, Lindsey Cooper, Natasha Thomas, Molly Hall, Zoe Cossey. Subs: Sian Cottrell, Samantha Walker.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Jess Trimnell under pressure from Hollie Clement
(middle) Shanell Salgado and Hannah Billingham keep Sian Cottrell at bay
(bottom) Sian Fagg gets in a challenge on Kelly-Jade Whelan
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