United Women beat Durham
Oxford United Women picked up their first win of the season with a vital 2-1 win at Durham yesterday. United fell behind to an early Emily Scott goal, but a spectacular long-range effort from Kayleigh Hines and a Jemma Connor-Iommi corner gave the U's the points.
United were without injured duo Steph Mobbs and Holly Pickett, while new loan signing Megan Alexander came in on the bench for the U's. Oxford were boosted by the return of captain Sahara Osborne-Ricketts from a knee injury and they started positively with Laura Low being denied by a last-ditch challenge as she looked to give the visitors an early lead.
United passed the ball around beautifully on Durham's immaculate 3G pitch, but for all their positive play they were unable to test goalkeeper Danielle Hill. And they were made to pay when the hosts took the lead emphatically with their first chance of the game. Emily Scott found herself in space at the back post as Oxford failed to clear their lines, firing into the roof of the net.
The U's were visibly rocked by the goal and they could have found themselves further behind when Jess Round shot over the bar after again finding space in front of goal.
It seemed United would need something spectacular to gain a foothold back in the game and Kayleigh Hines provided the magic, spotting the goalkeeper off her line and floating a beautiful effort into the top corner from 40 yards.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first as United dominated possession but found clear-cut chances few and far between. But it was the hosts who again came closest to edging themselves back in front as Rosie Young broke up the left-hand side before clipping the bar with a dangerous effort.
The introduction of Natasha Caswell proved to be instrumental midway through the second half and she could have put the U's ahead after finding herself clean through on goal only to be flagged for offside despite being clearly within her own half when the ball was played.
United might have had cause to complain about that decision if they had come away without the victory they deserved, but it proved academic as Jemma Connor-Iommi struck a late winner, curling in a dangerous corner which drifted all the way across goal to be cleared by a defender waiting on the line. Play continued as United tried to force the ball home only for the referee's assistant to draw attention to the fact that Connor-Iommi's initial ball across had crossed the line. The U's were then able to professionally see the game out to claim their first victory of the season.
United: Lambourne, Hines, Osborne-Ricketts, Chivers, Stanley (Caswell 63), Allison, Low (Alexander 60), King (Fellows 74), Nutman, Connor-Iommi, Lane. Subs not used: Cox, Franklin-Fraiture.