Oxford United Women pick up first point of the season
Oxford United 2 Reading 2
U's claim a point with a late leveller at home to local rivals Reading
United claimed their first point of the season in dramatic fashion as they struck back to claim a 2-2 draw at home to Reading. Kayleigh Hines first cancelled out Fran Kirby's opener but Lauren Bruton appeared to have given the visitors the points when she struck late on. However, Lauren Allison was on hand to head home the equaliser for the U's deep into injury time.
Manager Les Taylor named an unchanged starting lineup for the second game in succession, while on the bench Katie Stanley returned after missing the previous two matches due to injury and Amber Hughes came into the side for the first time.
Reading set about showing why they had been so highly fancied before the start of the season as they pressed forward but it was United who created the best chance of the early exchanges. Kayleigh Hines twisted out of two challenges before firing off a shot from 30 yards which hung in the air and almost dropped in behind Reading goalkeeper Nicky Davies.
But it was visitors who took the lead shortly before the half-hour mark when WSL 2's top scorer Fran Kirby beat two United defenders before firing into the top corner.
United were getting pinned back in their own half by Reading's high pressing game and they were almost made to pay shortly before the half as they surrendered possession cheaply again. Cheryl Williams got the wrong side of the defence but goalkeeper Hannah Cox was equal to the effort to palm the ball clear.
Oxford were much improved after the break and in the eighth minute of the half Kayleigh Hines fired in the equaliser against her old club, picking up the ball midway into the Reading half before unleashing an unstoppable effort which flew in via the post.
It was a complete transformation as United set about attacking their visitors, but Reading remained dangerous as Cox was called upon to keep out efforts from Kirby and Williams. And the visitors restored their lead with ten minutes remaining as Lauren Bruton curled her effort past Cox from the corner of the box.
It was harsh on United, who had been much the better side in the second half as they were left with little time to pull themselves level once more. The U's piled forward and Reading tried to run down the clock, but two minutes into stoppage time Lauren Allison rose to head in Katie Stanley's floated ball across to spark wild celebrations from both players and supporters.
United: Cox, Hines, Osborne-Ricketts (Mobbs 70), Chivers, Allison, Pickett (Stanley 62), King, Nutman, Connor-Iommi, Lane, Low (Hughes 86). Subs not used: Lambourne.