U's fall at first hurdle in Women's FA Cup
2016 began in disastrous fashion for Oxford United Women went out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle against Brighton on Sunday
United, who are only just back in pre-season training for the league season returned with no fewer than four fresh faces in the starting XI for their first competitive match of 2016. New signing Lauren Haynes made her debut for the U's at centre back, while youngsters Sophie Baker, Mollie Dyer and Steph Weston were also handed first starts for the club.
United were always going to have some cobwebs to shake off and that was made apparent in just the second minute of the match when a straightforward long ball caught the usually solid Rosie Lane unawares, allowing Amy Taylor clean through for the simplest of finishes into the bottom corner.
Just minutes later they doubled their advantage as goalkeeper Hannah Cox rushed out to meet a marauding Taylor, who promptly squared for the unmarked Sophie Perry to tap in.
United started to get themselves back into the game, with long-distance efforts from Kat Nutman and Mollie Dyer going close, but just as they were starting to establish themselves in the match Kate Natkiel's close-range shot rebounded off the post, struck the unfortunate Lane and hit the back of the net. 3-0. Charlotte Gurr made it four shortly afterwards, firing in off the post from the edge of the area after more sharp passing around the United box.
It could have been worse before half-time. A combination of a great last-ditch block from Lane and Cox's stop on the line denied Brighton a fifth shortly before the break and Cox batted away an attempted lob from Vicky Ashton-Jones when she was clean through to keep the score down to four at the break.
The onslaught continued after half-time, with Taylor adding a fifth just eight minutes into the half, poking home at the back post after Charley Boswell had beaten Chloe Bruce and squared the ball in the box. She nearly completed her hat-trick just moments after the restart, launching a ball over the keeper and only narrowly clearing the bar.
Natkiel hit the sixth 20 minutes from time, charging unimpeded through the United backline before rolling the ball past the helpless Demi Lambourne – on for the injured Cox at the start of the second half. She was left to pick the ball out of her net again just moments later as Natkiel crashed home the seventh from outside the area.
Substitute Lisa Fulgence netted the eight, sliding in to apply the finish after the home side had broken through on United right-hand side. Natkiel struck again shortly after, curling a free-kick over the wall and into the top corner.
The tenth goal came in the final minute as Perry crossed again for Gurr to fire in and complete a thoroughly miserable afternoon.
United: Cox (Lambourne 46), Bruce, Haynes, Lane, Nutman, Allison, Franklin-Fraiture, Lee, Baker, Dyer, Weston (Nichol 77).
Subs: Hakala, Deeley, Noble.
Report by Matt Bruce.
Pictures by Geoff Penn/BHAFC.