Women;s side come back from 2-0 down to make it three unbeaten
- Women draw 2-2 with Durham
- Three games unbeaten
- Les Taylor's side move off bottom of the table
Oxford United Women recovered a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 at home to Durham at Northcourt Road on Sunday. Goals from Jemma Purfield and Beth Hepple put the visitors 2-0 ahead but United responded well with a Kayleigh Hines header and a Lauren Allison penalty to salvage a point.
United made one enforced change from the side which beat Millwall Lionesses a fortnight ago, with full-back Megan Alexander returning to parent club Liverpool. Helen King returned to the starting lineup as a makeshift right-back, with Amy Chivers filling the vacancy out on the left. The U's arguably shaded the opening stages, though they had little to show for it. Katie Stanley did well to pick out Lauren Allison with a dangerous cross, but her weak header was well held by goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse. And Kayleigh Hines showed some ambition with a fierce shot from 25 yards which sailed narrowly over the bar.
Durham looked dangerous when they ventured forward and were unlucky not to take the lead when Beth Hepple fired a powerful free-kick towards the top corner, only to be denied by an excellent save from goalkeeper Demi Lambourne at full stretch.
However, the visitors did make the breakthrough shortly after the 30-minute mark, Emily Scott's beautiful diagonal ball finding striker Jemma Purfield, who controlled excellently before stroking the ball home.
United responded well to falling behind, with the lively Lauren Allison causing plenty of problems, breaking quickly on the right-hand side before squaring for the lurking Laura Low at the back post, but her strike could only find the upright.
United went in search of an equaliser after the break, Ella Franklin-Fraiture latching onto Stanley's excellent through ball but Moorhouse came out and collected well at her feet. Instead it was the visitors who doubled the lead against the run of play, Beth Jennings curling a free-kick into the top corner.
It was a harsh blow for United, who had looked much brighter after half-time. But the U's responded immediately and reduced the deficit when Kayleigh Hines flicked on Jemma Connor-Iommi's free-kick at the near post.
Moments later Oxford could have levelled in similar circumstances, Gemma Simmonds this time flicking on from Connor-Iommi's delivery but Moorhouse was there to keep it out.
And they found a deserved equaliser 15 minutes from time from the penalty spot after Laura Low had been pulled down in the box by Zoe Ness. Allison slotted home the spot-kick to bring United back on terms. Although United pressed hard for a late winner it wasn't to be and they had to style for a point.
United: Lambourne, Chivers, Connor-Iommi, Osborne-Ricketts, King, Hines, Nutman (Nichol 90), Franklin-Fraiture (Simmonds 64), Low, Stanley, Allison. Subs not used: Pickett, Pinker, Marshall.