MK Dons Ladies 3-4 QPR Ladies
FA Women’s Premier League Cup, Determining Round
Sunday 30th August 2015
Willen Road, Newport Pagnell
The match was always going to be a stiff test for the MK Dons Ladies, taking on opposition from a higher league. With both the Dons and QPR missing large numbers of their respective squads the scene was set for a thrilling seven goal cup encounter in the relentless rain at Newport Pagnell.
The pre-match drizzle gave way to ever increasing rain as Leah Cudone opened the scoring after just 8 minutes with a shot from the edge of area.
The next chance fell to Rangers when a neat passing move between Layton and Nicholson was thwarted by a brilliant covering tackle from Charley Wright.
Twenty minutes in and a good run by Cherrelle Albert forced a save from Emma Kirby but a poor clearance gave the ball straight back to Albert who rounded the keeper to make the scores level with a clean finish into an empty net on her debut. A couple of minutes later Albert should have doubled her tally but only managed to put the ball wide.
Hannah Barrett produced a great free kick for the Dons that somehow managed to evade everyone in the box only to sail harmlessly over.
Jo Wilson thought she had scored to put QPR into the lead but her effort was ruled offside. Only two minutes later she was celebrating following a good run down the right flank before cutting inside to put the ball into the back of the net on 31 minutes.
With the rain becoming increasingly heavy the pace of the game began to slow due to the difficult conditions. In the 41st minute Albert scored her second and QPR’s third with a shot into the top corner from twenty yards.
As the referee was about to blow for half time a speculative shot from Cudone narrowly missed the target at the far post.
Albert and Wilson combined well for Rangers shortly after the break only to see Wilson fire wide. MK just would not lie down and seven minutes into the second period Cudone pounced on a mistake in the QPR defence to pull a goal back for the Dons with a cool finish.
It wasn’t long before Albert tried her luck again with a long range shot that was saved. Immediately Wilson drove forward picking the ball up from another poor clearance before being brought down by the the Dons keeper inside the box. Substitute Zemeka Clarke slotted home the spot kick to give the R’s a 4-2 lead with 58 minutes on the clock.
With half an hour left MK started to show what they are made of and almost pulled to within one goal after a scramble in Ranger’s penalty area nearly resulted in an own goal. On 64 minutes Cudone did reduce the arrears with an inch perfect lob from eighteen yards to complete her hatrick.
With the Dons becoming stronger the game looked in the balance but they struggled to find an equaliser, the closest they came to drawing level was when Barrett fired just over from thirty yards.
As the players from both sides tired in the energy sapping conditions the final chances of the action packed game fell to Rangers, Albert had a thirty yard effort tipped over the bar by the Don’s keeper. Then six minutes into added time Jo Wilson’s shot was deflected wide shortly before the final whistle.
Don’s manager Tony O’Neill was full of praise for his team and was “delighted with the team spirit and determination” that his young side showed. Comments from QPR manager, Tony Smith, backed up O’Neill’s view when he said, “at times it felt like we were playing against twelve players”, he also applauded his team for managing to “grind out the result”.
From a spectator’s point of view I can only admire the ladies from both sides who managed to play attractive football in terrible conditions. If only all football was as good as this.
1-0 Leah Cudone, 8 mins
1-1 Cherrelle Albert, 20 mins
1-2 Jo Wilson, 31 mins
1-3 Cherrelle Albert, 41 mins
2-3 Leah Cudone, 52 mins
2-4 Zemeka Clarke (penalty), 58 mins
3-4 Leah Cudone, 64 mins
MK Dons Ladies:
1.Emma Kirby, 2.Rosie Anderson, 3.Sam Gillings, 6.Claire Hollingsworth, 15.Zoe Lander, 4.Molly Corbett, 9.Hannah Barrett (c), 20.Vicky Holland, 8.Charley Wright, 10.Leah Cudone, 11.Sophie Watson Sub: 12.Andi Dickens
1.Joanne Ayre, 2.Natalie Skiverton (6.Jean Sseninde 90+4mins), 3.Micaela Lopes, 4.Vanessa Nicholson, 5.Louise Hayes, 16.Laura Cooper, 7.Jo Wilson, 8.Carrie-Anne Layton (15.Zemeka Clarke 56mins), 9.Cherrelle Albert, 10.Dominika Netschova (12.Kasha Petit 61mins), 11.Sophie Fogarty (c)
Referee – Ernest Jennings
Assistants – George Dengel, Gavin Smith
© Andy Gunn