MATCH REPORTS

Luton Town Ladies 6-1 AFC Dunstable Ladies
ERFWL Premier Division
Sunday 19th May 2024
AFC Dunstable Ladies finished a difficult season with defeat against neighbours Luton Town Ladies at Sharpenhoe Road on Sunday.
The Hatters dominated the ball in the first half with AFC struggling to get shots on goal going up the slope. Shianne Swarres had the first strike on goal for Luton firing over from twenty yards but on 8 minutes Jess McKay put the hosts in front, finishing really well into the top left-hand corner after a ball over the top by Leyah Maddix.
Maddix was soon replaced after a tackle by AFC’s Hayley Smith left her unable to continue, Smith was shown a yellow card for the incident. 
AFC keeper Tyrii Bell made a fine stop to deny Luton a second in the 25th minute before Luton’s Tsaianne Leander struck the post seven minutes later.
Bell was again called into action five minutes before the break, making another good save but was unable to prevent the second Hatters goal in the 41st minute when Amber Pearson picked out McKay at the far post to finish calmly.
In six minutes of added time, due to Maddix’s injury, Bell denied McKay her hat-trick with yet another fine save. McKay then turned provider when she set up Pearson to flick the ball into the net with the last kick of the half.
Bell, who had a superb game, made another save in the 58th minute while AFC’s Poppy Whitburn denied Luton a fourth with a fine last-ditch tackle with twenty minutes remaining.
The visitors’ Mollie Knox had a shot just wide with quarter of an hour left but Luton extended their lead in the 76th minute when Pearson’s free kick fell kindly to McKay to allow her to complete her treble.
Knox had a curling effort saved with ten minutes to go but Luton instantly broke away up with Leander firing a shot from the edge of the area over Bell to make it 5-0.
Added time brought more drama as Smith was shown a second yellow card for a foul then another Pearson free kick found McKay at the back post to set up Elizabeth Sanders who scored from close range.
AFC kept going and were rewarded with a goal from Haile Richards just before the end of the match.
Team: Bell: Whitburn; James; Robb; Cook; Rothwell; Smith; Brazel-Hawkins; Powell; Knox; Surridge.
Subs (all used): Richards and Garner.
Real Bedford Ladies 6-2 AFC Dunstable Ladies
ERWFL Premier Division
Sunday 12th May 2024
A tough run of away games and a second meeting in a week against league champions Real Bedford proved a difficult schedule for AFC Dunstable Ladies but they can be proud of their efforts despite the two successive defeats.
Sunday’s game was played in high temperatures with the visitors playing some of their best football of the season, in another match where the scoreline didn’t reflect their performance but the title winners were clinical with their opportunities in front of goal.
AFC kept the Pirates at bay for over half an hour before Tash Fensome opened the scoring for the hosts following a pass from Cesca Partridge in the 33rd minute.
This seemed to knock AFC as they conceded a further two goals before the break. Gemma Croucher’s shot came back off the woodwork straight to Fensome who tapped home from a yard out for her second of the game with 37 minutes on the clock. Fensome then became provider as half time approached when she set up Partridge who fired her shot into the top corner.
AFC again, like Wednesday night, came out with intent for the second half and pulled a goal back through Ella Rothwell in the 50th minute. However, they were knocked back again when a penalty was awarded for handball five minutes later, which Zara Carroll despatched to make it 4-1.
The OD’s kept going, never gave up and created chances themselves by playing some decent football but were harshly hit with another goal to the hosts in the 71st minute when the Fensome-Partridge partnership combined again to see the latter hit a strike on the turn into the net.
AFC kept plugging away though and a bizarre situation led to a penalty for the sky blues with eleven minutes left. Initial claims were waved away with Rothwell showing her frustration, the referee sent her to the sin-bin despite overturning his decision after speaking to his assistant. With the penalty given, Haile Richards converted the spot kick but Rothwell’s sin-bin wasn’t rescinded.
Real Bedford used the player advantage to score a sixth on 86 minutes when a corner from Lisa Milliken was met by Neve Mayes to score from close range.
Lilly Nellis was sent off for AFC towards the end of the match but manager Luke Molloy again was proud of his team’s efforts as they look to build for next season by adding to a squad with potential for the future.
They finish their campaign with a short trip to Barton Rovers on Sunday to play Luton Town Ladies at 2pm.
Squad: Rogers; Cook; Robb; James; Brazel-Hawkins; Tambula; Smith; Surridge; Richards; Knox; Perrin; Rothwell; Nellis; Morris; Powell.
Real Bedford Ladies 5-0 AFC Dunstable Ladies    
Bedfordshire Women’s Cup Final
Wednesday 8th May 2024
Lady luck was against AFC Dunstable Ladies as they put up a valiant performance against comprehensive ERWFL Premier Division winners Real Bedford Ladies in the Bedfordshire Women’s Cup Final at Kempston Rovers on Wednesday.
AFC were the underdogs going into the game but after seeing off Biggleswade United and Luton Town in previous rounds they thoroughly deserved to make the final and had it not been for the woodwork, which they hit three times in the game and a harsh decision for opening goal going against them the scoreline could have been different.
The OD’s started brightly and were unlucky not to open the scoring in the opening minutes when Hayley Smith skimmed the outside of the post with a fine effort.
Haile Richards almost capitalised on a mistake at the back by Real Bedford in the 14th minute but just couldn’t find the back of the net from a tight angle.
The league winners took advantage three minutes later when Tash Fensome scored from close range despite the protests from many that a player had come back from an offside position in the build up.
AFC’s Poppy Surridge had an effort on goal just after the quarter mark of the game, which was easily gathered by Destiny Papp but more frustration came when Richards hit a superb 20 yard strike against the crossbar soon after.
Things just weren’t going the OD’s way and the Pirates again made the most of their opponent’s misfortune when Fensome scored her second and the best goal of the game, hitting a dipping strike from range to beat Tyrii Bell in the 38th minute.
AFC came out for the second half with a fighting spirit and had the ball in the net when Sian Morris went through on goal, finishing well, but she was ruled offside.
Three minutes later, against the run of play Amber Smith heaped more pain on AFC when she dispossessed a sky blues defender and her shot gave Bell no chance, scoring their third.
Bell pulled off a great save on the hour mark to deny Real Bedford a fourth as Ruby Powell was then cautioned as she became frustrated with the way the game was going.
AFC came close again to getting on the scoresheet when the bar was struck again, this time by Ella Rothwell’s header with 12 minutes to go.
To add insult to injury, Real Bedford scored two very late goals when Lisa Milliken’s shot took a deflection past Bell in the 89th minute then Lauren Coppin set up Erin Price to finish with a first time shot in added on time.
AFC should have had a penalty soon after when Richards was taken out from behind in the box but nothing was going their way as a corner was given instead.
The two late goals took the shine off a very good, hardworking performance from AFC, who on another night could have possibly upset the form book.
Team: Bell; Cook; James; Robb (Nellis 71′); Miller; Smith (Rothwell 57′); Tambula; Ingram (Whitburn 39′): Richards; Knox (Morris 39′); Surridge (Powell 57′).
Needham Market Ladies 2-2 AFC Dunstable Ladies
ERWFL Premier Division
Sunday 5th May 2024
AFC Dunstable Ladies made the long trip to Suffolk and came away with a point in a spirited performance with an equaliser two minutes from time.
The first quarter saw the hosts start the better with several chances which lacked a finishing touch. AFC keeper Tyrii Bell produced a great save to deny Paige Wakefield in the 18th minute before Mollie Knox gave the visitors the lead when she scored her first goal since returning from injury four minutes later.
Bell who produced a player of the match performance pulled off two saves within minutes as Annie Posnett’s effort was blocked by Bell’s right foot before she made a superb save to deny Eleanor Rossiter on the half hour mark.
Needham came out in the second half and thought they had equalised but Posnett was denied by the offside flag.
In the 63rd minute Bell made another fine stop before the hosts eventually equalised through Sheryce Slater. Needham were applying pressure and narrowly missed the target soon after but then took the lead with eight minutes left Keira Topple skilfully found the corner of the net.
AFC who worked hard all game, created chances themselves and drew level with minutes remaining when Haile Richards scored from a free kick.
Team: Bell; Cook; Ingram; Robb; Miller; James; Powell; Smith; Richards; Knox; Surridge.
Subs all used: Hogan; Morris; Nellis; Rothwell & Whitburn.
AFC Dunstable Ladies 1-7 Luton Town Ladies
ERWFL Premier Division
Wednesday 24th April 2024
Ruthless finishing by Luton Town Ladies in a crazy opening thirty minutes left AFC Dunstable Ladies shell-shocked and defeated at Creasey Park on Wednesday (24th).
AFC started well for the first minutes of the game with Chloe Tambula unable to convert a golden chance in the 2nd minute when she fired over after a great run by Haile Richards was thwarted on the edge of the area. The ball fell to Tambula but she agonisingly missed the target.
From then on, the Hatters stunned the hosts with some clinical attacking play. Leyah Maddix picked up the ball on the left and drove into the box to cross for Amber Pearson to score from close range in the 7th minute.
They were awarded a penalty in the 12th minute for a foul in the area, Maddix superbly converted in to the top left-hand corner to give Tyrii Bell in the AFC goal no chance.
There was no let off for the AFC defence as three minutes later Pearson got her second. Shianne Swarres’ fine pass found her team mate in space, her initial shot was saved by Bell but she tucked home the rebound to make it 3-0.
The home side pulled one back when Daisy Robb headed home a deep free kick on 17 minutes but again Luton responded and regained their three goal advantage when Pearson grabbed her hat-trick in style.
The scoring wasn’t done there as Maddix intercepted a pass from the AFC defence and fired the ball past Bell to make it 5-1 to the visitors in the 27th minute.
AFC made four changes to try and freshen things up. Ten minutes before the break Richards shot narrowly wide followed by another header from Robb as they tried to get back in the game.
The second half brought some positives for AFC as they played with more determination. Shots from Richards tested Leah Robinson in the Hatters goal before Bell made a fine save to deny Luton a sixth goal at the other end.
Bell made another good save with seven minutes left before Gabriella Spillman scored a fine long-range effort with five minutes remaining. On the stroke of added time Elizabeth Sanders set up Keira Palmiero for the seventh, which was a bit harsh on AFC as apart from a mad twenty minute spell they competed well against a very good and clinical Hatters team.
Team: Bell; Whitburn (Cook 28′); Sapwell (James 28′); Robb (Knox 46′); Miller; Rothwell (Smith 28′); Tambula; Powell (Surridge 28′); Richards; Morris; Ingram.
Wroxham Women 3-2 AFC Dunstable
ERWFL Premier Division
Sunday 14th April 2024
AFC Dunstable Ladies first team made the long trip to Wroxham on Sunday and got off to a slow start. The journey seemed to be still in their system as they went 3-0 down in the opening 17 minutes, which included two unfortunate own goals.
They responded well though, dominating large parts of the game from then on, pulling a goal back just before the break to give them hope for the second half. In the 69th minute a comeback was on when they reduced the hosts lead further, scoring their second of the match. Despite having a lot of possession and chances to draw level and even win the game it was not to be.
AFC’s goals came from joint player of the match, Ruby Powell and 16 year old Sian Morris who has now scored in her last two appearances. Georgia Miller was named the other player of the match. 
Team: Chambers; Cook; Ingram; Robb; Brazel-Hawkins; Miller; Surridge; Rothwell; Morris; Richards; Powell.
Subs (all used): Hogan; H Smith; Sapwell; West and Whitburn.
Royston Town Ladies 1-2 AFC Dunstable
ERWFL Premier Division
Wednesday 27th March 2024
AFC Dunstable Ladies superbly bounced back from a disappointing loss at St Albans City to beat third placed Royston Town Ladies on Wednesday night.
Goals from Haile Richards and Sian Morris gave them a 2-1 win in Hertfordshire.
Team: Claridge; Cook; Ingram; Robb; Brazel-Hawkins; Miller; Tambula; Rothwell; Morris; Richards; Powell.
Subs (all used): Horsley; H Smith; Surridge and Nellis.

Luton Town Ladies 2-2 AFC Dunstable (AFC win 4-3 on pens)

Bedfordshire Women’s Cup Semi Final
Sunday 17th March 2024
AFC Dunstable Ladies overcame a strong Luton Town Ladies team at Sharpenhoe Road on Sunday to win on penalties after a 2-2 draw after 90 minutes and reach the Bedfordshire FA Women’s Cup Final.
The OD’s are looking much stronger after a difficult start to the season and more than competed with the more experienced Hatters team. It was a great game with both sides going for it, showing determination and desire to win.
AFC’s Haile Richards had the first chance of the game in the 7th minute but was denied by a great save by Amy Butler.
However, she was not to be denied ten minutes later when a fine through ball from AFC’s player of the match Olivia James was met by Richards who sprinted clear of the Hatters backline then finishing calmly into the bottom left-hand corner.
In the 37th  minute Luton’s Fiona Buttigieg crossed for Leyah Maddix but her header went wide of the target.
The hosts levelled the game five minutes before the interval Buttigieg’s free kick was headed home by Tanya Blacksley at the far post.
Luton had the first chance of the second half when Maddix sent a shot just over the bar but AFC retook the lead in the 58th minute when Richards was found in acres of space and she cooly slotted home her second of the game.
The game got a bit physical for a spell during which Luton drew level again when Andie Dickens scored in the 74th minute. Yellow cards for the Hatters’ Amy Wade and AFC’s Georgia Miller came either side of the goal as things got a bit tense.
Gabriella Spillman had a chance in injury time to win the game for Luton but saw her effort go wide of the post.
The game then went to penalties. Maddix scored for the home side then team mate Butler saved Chloe Tambula’s penalty.
Amber Pearson scored her penalty to give Luton a 2-0 lead then AFC’s Gemma Whitchurch got her team on the board to make it 2-1 before the visitors’ keeper Ella Claridge saved Wade’s spot kick.
Lilly Nellis then made it 2-2 before Spillman just managed to score her penalty which came back off the post on to the unfortunate Claridge’s back and in to the net. James then levelled the shootout at 3-3.
Butler then stepped up for Luton but her effort cleared the crossbar. Richards, as she had done all game calmly side footed her penalty in to the net to win the game for AFC 4-3 on penalties.
Team: Claridge; James; Cook; Robb; West; Miller; Tambula; Rothwell; Surridge; Richards; Powell.
Subs (all used): Morris; H Smith; Whitchurch and Nellis.
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