United lose out in Continental Cup
Second-half goals from England internationals Karen Carney and Emily Westwood condemned Oxford United Women to a 2-0 defeat at WSL 1 leaders Birmingham City last night. United put up an impressive defence against a strong Birmingham side, but were ultimately breached twice as they tired in the final half-hour.
The U's made just one change from the side which won 2-1 at Durham four days before, with Louise Fellows making a first start since February, replacing Kayleigh Hines in midfield.
United had enjoyed the majority of possession at the weekend, but against an impressive Birmingham side they were restricted to playing on the counter. The hosts enjoyed the lion's share of possession and chances in the early stages but the United defence stood firm.
Birmingham captain Carney shot narrowly over the bar in the opening minutes, while Hannah Keryakoplis twice went close only to be denied by the inspired Demi Lambourne between the posts for United. Keryakoplis did have the ball in the net after getting the wrong side of the U's defence but her celebrations were cut short by the linesman's raised flag.
The home side finally broke the deadlock after 62 minutes, England international Carney curling in a beautiful free-kick from the edge of the area.
Kirsty Linnett almost doubled the lead soon after, getting the wrong side of the United defence and audaciously lobbing Lambourne but her effort dropped onto the roof of the net. But Birmingham did make it two after 74 minutes, Emily Westwood poking home after a scramble in the penalty area.
United did have chances of their own, with Lauren Allison testing the Birmingham goalkeeper with a snapshot on the turn and substitute Laura Nichol shooting narrowly wide from distance. But despite putting in an admirable display against the WSL 1 leaders they were unable to reduce the arrears and it was the hosts who claimed the points.
United: Lambourne, Osborne-Ricketts (Bruce 82), Chivers, Stanley, Allison, Low (Nichol 62), King, Nutman, Connor-Iommi, Fellows (Franklin-Fraiture HT), Lane. Subs not used: Cox, Pinker.