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Town remain joint top despite first defeat

By Leon Waite

19 September 2017 08:15

The Hatters were hoping to remain unbeaten travelling to Sutton Utd.

They had the first chance of the game after Erica Byron who was making her first start of the season as a right back, played Jo Rutherford in, but her shot was blocked on the edge of the box.

After 15 minutes, the home side broke the deadlock when a through ball was played to the striker who was at least 5 yards offside, but it wasn't given and she finished well past Town stopper Grace Brooks.

Straight from this, Jodie Bellinger had a great chance to equalise for the Hatters but the Wimbledon keeper made a good save. On the half hour mark, Bellinger again nearly put her side level after Rutherford did some good defensive work and played Bellinger in, but the keeper just got there first.

Just before the break, Town had two quick fire chances to equalise but couldn't get the final touch. First Jess McKay saw some space open up and hit it from distance, but it dipped just over the bar. Then McKay was involved again after winning the ball back and unleashing a second shot was well saved but spilt by the keeper and Bellinger was unlucky not to finish the rebound.

After the break Bellinger and McKay combined well and pulled another save from the excelling AFC Wimbledon keeper, who had also done well to keep out several well delivered set pieces from Zara Carroll and Rutherford.

After 60 minutes, the Hatters were caught on the break and were stretched defensively, and the Dons took advantage with a great effort from distance that sailed into the top corner.

Five minutes later the Hatters could have and should have gone ahead after Carroll delivered a decent free kick and a scramble on the line was cleared after Dionne Manning tried to poke it in at the far post.

The home side then scored two quick fire goals as the Town went on the attack. The defence found themselves with little protection and the Dons were able to get in behind to make it 3, before another worldie from distance made it 4.

With five minutes left, the Hatters eventually got the goal that had been coming as Carroll took her player on and dipped it into the top corner from a difficult angle.

The remaining minutes passed with not much happening, but substitute Funmi Babalola flashed a great ball across goal but nobody was able to convert it and the Town suffered their first defeat of the league season.

Manager Nikki Baker said after the game "It was a frustrating game today and we couldn't get on the ball or convert that final ball. We had several chances in the first half but could not finish or make it stick up the top end. However, one defeat out of 4 is not bad and especially as we have been without key players the last few games".

The ladies are at home next week hosting Leyton Orient in the league.