U's go down at home to late goal
Oxford United Women fell to their third successive defeat in the cruelest of circumstances as they were beaten 1-0 at home to Yeovil Town Ladies. The U's dominated for much of the match and created a host of chances but were again punished for their failure to make the most of them when Paige Stewart headed home for the visitors late in the game.
Hannah Cox came in for her first start of the season in goal following Demi Lambourne's injury at Doncaster, while midfielder Natasha Caswell came back from suspension to make her debut WSL appearance.
Cox was called into action early on as the visitors made most of the early running, the keeper doing well to hold on to Polly Wardle's early effort after the Yeovil striker had got the wrong side of the defence. Cox was at full stretch to tip Helen Bleazard's inswinging free-kick over the bar soon after.
But United soon began to press forward themselves and apply some considerable pressure to the Glovers' backline. Caswell's beautifully lofted ball put Lauren Allison in but her shot flashed narrowly wide and Allison again went close moments later, quickly turning and shooting narrowly over from the edge of the area.
Yeovil defender Jade Radburn-Lurton almost turned the ball into her own net after Katie Stanley had burst free on the right wing before delivering a dangerous ball across the face of goal. Her cross clipped off the hapless defender before hitting the bar and going behind for a corner.
But Yeovil were still creating their own chances, Wardle again finding space on the right-hand but blazing over the bar when picked out by an accurate crossfield pass. And Cox was again Oxford's hero as she acrobatically palmed away Kirsty Whitton's close-range effort.
The yellows started the second half as they finished the first, on the front foot, and Allison again went close after being set free on the right-hand side, but her effort flashed across the face of goal. However, Yeovil began to gain the momentum with Katie Cook shooting harmlessly at Cox when clean through and then firing narrowly wide after Bleazard had pulled the ball back from the byline for her. They had the ball in the net in the 70th minute when Wardle headed home but their celebrations were cut short by the offside flag as the hosts breathed a sigh of relief.
Holly Pickett went close for United when Helen King picked her out at the far post but she could only head wide. And Jemma Connor-Iommi almost put the hosts in front in spectacular fashion as her ambitious effort from just inside the Yeovil half appeared to be heading for the top corner only to be clawed away at the last minute by goalkeeper Rachel Simkin.
But the U's were dealt a cruel blow with less than 10 minutes to play, as substitute Laura Bray found some space on the left before crossing for Paige Stewart to head past Cox.
United poured forward in the closing stages, Kayleigh Hines seeing an injury-time header cleared off the line as Oxford forced a succession of late corners, but to no avail as they were condemned to a third successive defeat.
United team: Cox, Hines, Osborne-Ricketts, Chivers, Stanley, Allison, Caswell (Franklin-Fraiuture 71), Pickett (Low 82), King, Connor-Iommi, Lane. Subs not used: Mobbs, Pinker, Nutman, Lambourne.