Match Information

  • MK Dons FC Women 2-4 Stoke City FC Women

  • When: Sunday 24th July 2022

  • Kick-off: 2pm

  • Where: 3G Pitch, Fairfields Sports Hub, Apollo Avenue, Milton Keynes, Bucks MK11 4BA 

  • Competition: Pre-season friendly

  • Attendance: 76


This was a really interesting venue for me to visit. It is a recently opened sports hub designed mainly for use by women and girls for their football training and matches.

The burgeoning popularity of women’s football is lovely to see and hosting the Euro Finals in England this summer will leave a vital lasting legacy to inspire the next generation of female footballers.

Diary of a Groundhopper - MK Dons Women


National publicity will continue to grow and this will drive lucrative sponsorship and advertising deals. In fact I firmly believe that men and women football players will be paid the same wages within the next 10 to 20 years.

This will give girls like my three year old daughter the chance to eventually have a rewarding career as a professional footballer which is fantastic. The very best possible job! 

Ground Description

It is located at the end of a large new housing area on the western edge of Milton Keynes where 2,200 homes have been built along with a local centre and a primary school.

Entry to the Fairfields Sports Hub is via a lane which leads to the large car park. The inclusion friendly main clubhouse contains spacious changing rooms, offices, a kitchen, educational facilities and meeting rooms.

It has recently been hosting workshops for female football coaches as well as “watch” parties for the big matches in the Women’s Euros.

Spread around the outside of this building, there are four natural grass pitches whilst my match took place on a FIFA-certified full size 3G artificial playing surface. This is fully fenced off with floodlights and a spectator viewing enclosure down one side.

Supporters can also watch from the grass banking that surrounds the perimeter cage.

The launch publicity for the Fairfields Sports Hub stated that it “has been specifically designed to provide female players, coaches, and officials with all the amenities they need to feel comfortable within the football environment.”

The overall site is managed on behalf of Milton Keynes Council by the MK Dons Sports & Education Trust - an independent charity renowned for carrying out great work in their local community.

Major funding for this Fairfields facility came from the Football Foundation who I admire as perennially staunch supporters of the grassroots game. Milton Keynes Council also made a significant financial contribution.

The Match

This was a thoroughly entertaining affair between two teams that wouldn’t normally meet each other during their respective domestic seasons.

MK Dons of The FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division started brightly and led 2-1 at half-time through strikes by Mollie Coupar (seven minutes) and a Nicole Pepper penalty (20 mins).

Diary of a Groundhopper - MK Dons Women


But visitors Stoke City – who play in the same league but as part of the Northern Premier Division - always looked stronger.

Indeed, the Potters deserved their victory with Meg Bowyer (eight mins), Beth Roberts (55 mins), Callan Barber (59 mins) and Carra Jones (90 mins) all on the scoresheet.


*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to @TonyIncenzo*

 

FIRST PUBLISHED: 30th July 2022

About the Author
By
Tony Incenzo

Tony is a football reporter for talkSPORT Radio and Sky TV. He previously worked for Clubcall and Capital Gold.  

His devotion to Queens Park Rangers has now reached 50 seasons. Tony is also a Non-League football expert having visited almost 2,500 different football grounds in his matchday groundhopping. 

You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo.