Ini bags a brace as Bees are beaten
Oxford United Women got back to winning ways in style with a 4-2 home win over London Bees on Sunday in FA Women's Super League 2. A record crowd of 1,211 turned out at the Northcourt for United's Family Fun Day and the bumper crowd were treated to a six-goal thriller with top scorer Ini Umotong netting twice alongside goals from Ellie Noble and Lauren Allison.
Allison and Lauren Haynes returned to United's starting XI after successful fitness tests, replacing the departed Laura Nichol and Georgia Timms, who shrugged off a rib injury to earn a place on the bench.
Ellie Noble went closest to opening the scoring in a cagey opening to the first half, forcing Bees goalkeeper Beth Davies into an acrobatic save to keep out her ambitious 25-yard free-kick, which had looked destined for the top corner. Chances were otherwise few and far between until United opened the scoring on the half-hour mark, sparking an avalanche of goals.
The breakthrough came when Rosie Lane arced a glorious ball in from just inside the Bees half, taking a glancing header from top scorer Ini Umotong which carried it beyond the desperate dive of goalkeeper Beth Davies and into the far corner of the net.
The visitors responded shortly after when Eva Popadinova's effort snuck past United keeper Demi Lambourne and just inside the post.
But the scores were level for just a minute as United restored their lead immediately. Umotong burst through the Bees backline to tee up Lauren Allison and although her shot was blocked, Noble was on hand to powerfully strike low into the bottom corner and register her first senior goal.
And just two minutes later it was three as Ella Franklin-Fraiture's superb raking through ball put Allison in behind and she made no mistake when one on one, poking the ball past the helpless keeper at the front post.
The visitors responded well after the break and pulled a goal back nine minutes in. An underhit backpass left the U's keeper stranded, with Popadinov seizing on the loose ball before rolling it into the empty net.
But Umotong struck again on the hour mark, seizing possesion from Aoife Hurley before calmly rounding the goalkeeper and tapping in her second of the afternoon and 12th of the season. She could have had a hat-trick shortly after when she beat her defender and raced clear, but her low strike was well saved by Davies and Franklin-Fraiture was unable to hit the target with the rebound.
But it was all smiles at the final whistle as the U's brought their four-match losing run to an end and sent the excellent supporters home happy.
United: Lambourne, Frampton, Haynes, Casley, Lane, Umotong, Allison, Franklin-Fraiture, Rafferty (Baker 90+3), Lee, Noble (Timms 82). Subs not used: Cox, Bruce, Deeley, Weston.
Report by Matt Bruce.