Oxford United Ladies beat Keynsham 2-1 in top of the table clash
Two headed goals from leading scorer Lauren Allison were just enough for Oxford United Ladies to beat top-of-the-table Keynsham 2-1, a result that effectively means it's in United's own hands to win the title and therefore promotion to the FA Women's Premier League 2nd Division.
United started strongly and Tash Caswell had already missed a presentable chance before Allison gave the U's the lead in the 16th minute. A cross from deep by Lyndsay Pinker was glanced goalwards by Allison and although the visiting keeper managed to get her fingertips to the ball she was unable to prevent it going in. Keynsham responded strongly and although a Caswell shot came back off the bar it was mostly the visitors who had the better of possession in the remainder of the first period. They got the goal that they deserved just a couple of minutes before the half-time whistle when a good passing move concluded with a low cross into the penalty area allowing the visitors' striker a simple finish into the roof of the net.
Oxford started the second half strongly and just three minutes in Allison was on the end of a free-kick from skipper Sahara Osborne-Ricketts but saw her header hit the bar. With the visitors sitting ever deeper, hoping to hold on for the point that would almost guarantee them the title, it was always United who looked the likeliest to make the breakthrough, and they did just that with 10 minutes remaining. Caswell floated in a corner from the left and Allison reached the ball just before the goalkeeper to head home. This led to a nervy last few minutes as Keynsham looked for parity and the Yellows were indebted to Hannah Cox for some calm goalkeeping and one last-minute save to keep out a long-range effort that almost squirmed through her legs.
After the match coach Luke Taylor told www.oufc.co.uk "It was a real battle. Keynsham are a tough physical side and we certainly know we've been in a match. It was a result rather than a performance but that's exactly what is required at this stage of the season."
five points behind Keynsham but with a game in hand and two games remaining. The U's visit Exeter next week followed by a home match against Swindon Town and Taylor knows the team can't afford to relax. "We have possibly our three toughest games right at the end of the season but if we play as well as we know we can then we should be okay." The U's have already been awarded the points for their game against the University of Portsmouth (although this isn't yet reflected in the league table), who were unable to field a team, but if the final position comes down to goal difference then that match will be played. Keynsham's final game is away to third-placed Plymouth Argyle.