Report as Oxford United Women lose out
The Oxford United Women fell to a heavy 5-1 defeat at home to Doncaster Rovers Belles on Sunday, with Courtney Sweetman-Kirk netting a hat-trick and Victoria Williams scoring twice for the away side. New signing Gemma Simmonds pulled one back for United shortly before half-time but it proved little more than a consolation on what was a difficult afternoon for the U's.
The visitors established a firm stranglehold on the game from the off as United sat deep under threat from Doncaster wingers Sue Smith and Jess Sigsworth. It took the Belles 14 minutes to break the deadlock, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk breaking away before lobbing the ball over the onrushing Demi Lambourne to put the away side in front.
Sweetman-Kirk had the ball in the net again soon after, latching onto Sigsworth's mishit shot, but the goal was ruled out for offside. However, the visitors would not be denied for long, Sweetman-Kirk heading in her second from close range after being picked out by Smith's cross. Just minutes later it was three when Victoria Williams rose highest to powerfully head home from a corner.
But United looked dangerous themselves on their rare forays forward, Helen King narrowly poking the ball wide after being played in by Gemma Simmonds. And with half-time looming the U's got themselves on the score sheet, Simmonds firing into the bottom corner after some good work on the right-hand side by Katie Stanley.
But any hopes of a comeback were cruelly dismissed just five minutes into the second half as Sweetman-Kirk completed her hat-trick after Kat Nutman had been caught in possession in front of goal.
Williams netted her second of the game 20 minutes from time, spotting Lambourne off her line before launching an ambitious lob from just inside the United half which sailed over the head of the goalkeeper and into the net.
Job completed, the visitors then sat back to see the game out and although United did create chances — Lauren Allison volleying into the arms of goalkeeper Nicola Hobbs and Katie Stanley shooting wide from just five yards out — the U's seemed anxious to hear the final whistle and put this one behind them. They will look to make an immediate recovery away at Yeovil Town next week.
United: Lambourne, Connor-Iommi, Alexander, Nutman, Chivers, Hines, King, Franklin-Fraiture (Fellows 62), Simmonds (Pickett 76), Stanley, Allison (Low 76). Subs not used: Nichol, Marshall.