Baker left fuming as Luton Ladies concede last-gasp leveller

Eric Byron slots Luton Town Ladies ahead against AFC Wimbledon Ladies
Eric Byron slots Luton Town Ladies ahead against AFC Wimbledon Ladies
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Luton Town Ladies manager Nikki Baker was left raging after seeing her side concede in stoppage time as visitors AFC Wimbledon earned a point in their FA Women’s Premier League South East Division One meeting on Sunday.

Erica Byron had given Town the advantage in the first half and then controversially after the referee had signalled three minutes to be added on, Kelly Whelan grabbed the equaliser in the 95th minute.

The result means that Town missed out on the opportunity to go into joint fourth place with Cambridge, however they did extend their unbeaten run to five games.

After the match, Baker said: “I am absolutely devastated not to take all three points from the game.

“I would love to know where all the added time came from, the ref couldn’t give me an answer.

“We controlled the game very well, controlled the tempo well, played some good football and we were the better team over 90 minutes.

“Wimbledon tried to make the game scrappy and got very irate but we stayed composed.

“Everyone worked really hard and the girls had run themselves into the ground for 95/96 minutes and it was one too far. We’re extremely unlucky not to take all three points.

“That is five unbeaten now, and we have taken four points off them so although this feels like a loss conceding late, ultimately a draw is still a good result against a team above us.”

The Hatters had scored from their first meaningful chance after 17 minutes.

Nicola Henman, who put in a solid performance, fed a brilliant ball to Byron and she finished the attack perfectly, drilling the ball into the bottom left corner.

The visitors went extremely close to equalising 20 minutes later when Whelan almost got on the end of a long free kick from Sahara Osborne-Ricketts but Jess Devoti parried her shot away.

Town should have extended their lead immediately after the break as Byron and Joanne Rutherford combined well down the left flank.

The ball fell to Jess McKay outside the box and without hesitation, she struck a powerful effort from 22 yards that rattled the crossbar.

Byron’s encouraging performance continued into the second period and after winning the ball back, she delivered a terrific cross as Henman directed her free header inches off target.

Devoti came to the rescue on two more occasions as the game started to get scrappy and she made further crucial saves to deny Whelan, plus also keeping out Emma Keady’s header from five yards.

After Town’s back-line had remained firm for all of the 90 minutes, they failed to deal with a ball in by Katie Stanley deep into stoppage time and Whelan tapped in at the far post from close range to make it 1-1.

Town aren’t in action this weekend as they host Actonians Ladies in their next league game on Sunday, April 9.