Barratt at the double as Tractor Girls go top
- Credit: Ross Halls
Zoe Barratt and Lucy O'Brien both struck against their former club as Ipswich Town moved top of the Southern Premier Division with a 3-0 victory over MK Dons at the Goldstar Ground.
O'Brien put the Tractor Girls ahead after just five minutes before Barratt's brace saw the Blues to a comfortable victory in manager Joe Sheehan's 50th competitive match in charge.
Town came flying out of the blocks as Natasha Thomas robbed the defender of possession and curled a shot over the bar inside the opening minute.
Soon after, the Blues took the lead as Kyra Robertson worked the ball out wide to O'Brien, who broke into the area and slotted past Amy Martin at her near-post.
The Dons didn't look phased at going a goal behind and continued to press Ipswich high and put the home side under pressure but just as they were starting to establish a foothold, Town delivered a hammer blow with their second of the afternoon.
Thomas did superbly to pressure the defender into a mistake before driving inside the area and sliding the ball across the face of goal for the arriving Barratt to turn home.
Soon controversy struck as the Tractor Girls were denied a third goal by the officials after had Lucy Egan appeared to have bundled the ball over the line before a goalmouth scramble ensued.Neither referee Alex Shipp nor his assistant Sully Mapplebeck gave the goal to the outrage of the Town players and supporters behind the goal.
Both sides continued to battle hard but chances were scarce for the remainder of the half.
Shortly after the break, MK Dons appealed for a penalty but Shipp waved it away, citing the Dons' forward had gone down too easily.
O'Brien continued to be a thorn in the side of her former club as she wreaked havoc by creating a number of chances, with the best of the bunch coming for Thomas, but she was denied excellently by Martin.
Soon, the MK stopper was lucky to get away with a complete misjudgment as she stranded herself from Paige Peake's free-kick but when the ball dropped to Barratt, she hit the side netting.
Ten minutes from time, two substitutes combined as Maddie Biggs fed Summer Hughes through on goal but once again Martin was equal to the shot.
Egan was next to go close as she glanced Peake's free-kick over the bar with four minutes to go. The Dons continued to work hard and carved out a half-chance after Town failed to clear their lines but Marianne Taho saw her shot well saved by Sarah Quantrill.
As the game began to reach its conclusion, the Tractor Girls netted a late third as Eva Hubbard slotted Barratt through on goal and the in-form forward duly obliged by slotting past Martin for her fifth goal in as many games.
The result sees Town move top of the FAWNL Southern Premier Division table after Southampton's game with Cardiff City was postponed.
The Tractor Girls now have a weekend off before welcoming third-placed Bridgwater United to the Goldstar Ground on October 24.