Crawley Wasps recovered from an early setback to impressively sweep aside AFC Wimbledon 5-2 on Wednesday night and make it four wins from four in the FA Women’s National League.
Visitors Wimbledon took a fourth-minute lead but, after Sian Heather’s equaliser, wingers Emma Plewa and Faye Rabson both scored twice for Wasps in a thrilling second half.
There was also a penalty apiece – one missed by Wasps’ Naomi Cole, the other scored by Dons’ captain Jess Trimnell – as the crowd at Tinsley Lane, Oakwood got their money’s worth.
Wasps fell behind when Caroline Bisson got clear and fired in at the near post and, having not won from a losing position in almost two years, the omens were not good – particularly when keeper Frankie Gibbs had to prevent a second with a fingertip save.
But Wasps settled into the match, creating a series of half chances, before Heather pulled them level midway through the half, outmuscling a defender and firing in low from the edge of the box.
Gibbs made a good low save early in the second half, a crucial intervention – because Wasps immediately stung the Dons with two quick goals, both of individual brilliance.
First, former Wales international Plewa’s dazzling footwork took her away from one defender and a burst of pace beat another before she shot low into the far corner.
Then Rabson collected Stow’s pass 35 yards out and steamed round the outside of her marker, shrugging off a challenge in the box to curl a left-footed effort beyond keeper Chanell Yardley.
Another looked likely when Heather was sent sprawling by Yardley, only for Cole to sky the penalty over the bar.
That was only a temporary reprieve as Rabson and Heather’s work on the right teed up Plewa to make it 4-1, but Dons reduced the deficit through Trimnell’s spot-kick after Gibbs clipped Bisson.
Rabson ensured there was no nervy finish, though, as she went on another incisive run, this time on the left, before drawing the keeper and tucking the ball away.
Wasps: Gibbs; Niamh Stephenson, James, Young, Palmer (Measures 86); Drury (Carter 77), Cole; Rabson, Stow, Plewa (Webber 73); Heather. Sub not used: Samain, Davies.