Hatters Ladies knocked off top spot after first league defeat

Jodie Bellinger in action for Luton Town Ladies
Jodie Bellinger in action for Luton Town Ladies

Luton Town Ladies slipped to second spot in the FA Women’s Premier League South East Division One table after their first defeat of the season, losing 4-1 at AFC Wimbledon on Sunday.

The visitors created the first chance when Erica Byron, who was making her first start of the season as a right back, found Jo Rutherford with her shot blocked.

However, after 15 minutes, the home side broke the deadlock when a through ball was played to Caroline Bisson, who despite looking offside, finished well past Town stopper Grace Brooks.

Luton almost bounced back instantly, Jodie Bellinger with a great chance, but home keeper Tash Salgado made a fine stop.

On the half hour mark, Bellinger again nearly put her side level after being found by Rutherford, only to be denied by Salgado once more.

Just before the break, Town had two quickfire chances to equalise, as Jess McKay’s effort just didn’t dip enough, while she forced Salgado into another good save, with Bellinger unable to convert the rebound.

After the break, Bellinger and McKay combined well, only for Salgado to produce further heroics, as she also claimed several set-pieces from Zara Carroll and Rutherford too.

Luton were made to pay for their missed opportunities on the hour mark too as Katie Stanley fired into the top corner from distance.

Five minutes later, the Hatters should have pulled one back, as Carroll’s free kick led to a scramble on the goal-line, with Dionne Manning unable to get a final touch.

The home side then scored twice more to put the result beyond doubt, as Bisson (63) had her second, with Kelly-Jade Whelan (86) adding the fourth.

With time running out, Luton eventually got the goal that had been coming as Carroll netted from range for a consolation.

Manager Nikki Baker said: “It was a frustrating game and we couldn’t get on the ball or convert out opportunities.

“We had several chances in the first half but couldn’t finish or make it stick up the top end. However, one defeat out of four is not bad especially as we have been without key players recently.”

The ladies are at home to Leyton Orient this weekend.