By Sion Misra
Cardiff City Ladies came out on top in a highly contested battle against MK Dons in Ystrad Mynach
The driving rain certainly didn’t damp the spirits of the homeside, as two goals from Kylie Nolan and one from Issy Newns was enough to gain all three points.
The result moves Cardiff onto 20 points, and crucially, seven points ahead of eleventh placed Chichester and Selsey, who currently occupy the final relegation spot.
It was the visitors who started the better of both teams with chances coming early for the Dons from Laura Mills and Lucy Wood.
Despite the strong start from the visitors, it was Cardiff who took the lead on the half hour mark. The ball was played from the left into the centre of the park, and it was picked up by Kylie Nolan, who produced a delightful lob over the scrambling Chloe Sansom to fire City 1-0 up.
Seven minutes later the lead was doubled following great work by Lucy Attwood. Attwood regained the ball brilliantly on the left wing before playing in Issy Newns, who like Nolan before her, produced an incredible lob to put City in dreamland.
MK Dons did not sit back and accept their fate however, as a minute later they pulled one back. Mills went on a run up the left wing before crossing to Wood in the middle, who slid the ball past the oncoming Laura O’Sullivan.
Three minutes after their first, the Dons found the equaliser. Nicole Pepper’s corner was headed into the net by the head of a City defender, cancelling out the home sides early advantage.
The first half shenanigans were not over yet however, as Cardiff regained the lead. Chloe Lloyd floated in a free kick on the edge of the area which evaded everyone except the bright Nolan, who took a touch, composed herself, and rifled the ball into the back of the net past Sansom.
The second half was a far quieter affair, with Cardiff’s shape thwarting any attempt of MK Dons to score.
The most bizarre moment of the half came when the MK Dons assistant, Mark Dass, was sent off for refusing to take is seat on the bench.
Cardiff themselves got a red card in the 85th minute as Harriet Lambe was harshly shown a second yellow card. The final five minutes of the game was very much backs to the wall for City, but their defence stayed strong as they looked to preserve their lead.
In what was a thrilling game, there was almost another turn in the tail in dying minutes. A cross was not gathered cleanly by O’Sullivan which presented the ball to the feet of Marianne Taho, who looked certain to score, but the Dons attacker fluffed her lines and dragged her shot wide past an unguarded net.
A few more tense moments, the referee finally blew the full-time whistle, leaving Cardiff to celebrate a well deserved victory.
Player of the Match: Issy Newns
There were many candidates for player of the match, but Issy Newns was well deserving of the award. Her tenacious work in the midfield did not go unnoticed and her goal was executed exquisitely.