United denied by two late goalsTwo late goals from London Bees meant that Ini Umontong's equaliser with ten minutes remaining was in vain as the hosts ran out 3-1 winners at the Hive yesterday.
In an eventful game, United were indebted to keeper Hannah Cox in the sixth minute as she kept out a shot from Nicola Watts. Two minutes later and Watts had a great chance to give the Bees the lead but could only hit the post from close range.
Midway through the first half Cox was called on to palm away a Paula Howells header from close range. United's first chance came just after the half-hour, when leading scorer Umotong drove straight at keeper Imogen Riches.
Ashleigh Goddard headed just wide for the home side and Oxford thought they had done enough to get to half-time with a clean sheet but right on the stroke of the interval Goddard climbed highest to head the Bees into the lead.
United came more into the game in the second period and ten minutes in Lauren Allison weaved her way through the home defence but could only drag her shot wide. A minute later Jess Frampton shot over and just after the hour Ella Franklin-Fraiture was on the end of a corner but could only find the side-netting.
Franklin-Fraiture had another opportunity with 20 to go but the advancing Riches forced her to shoot wide. London Bees then had their best effort of the second half when Cox had to parry a Jo Wilson shot. A minute later Umotong scored her ninth of the season with a chip over Riches following good work from Allison.
United looked to have secured the point they deserved but as the game entered stoppage time Deanna Cooper smashed the ball past the helpless Cox to restore London Bees' lead and a minute later Wilson made sure with a third.
United: Cox, Frampton, Haynes, Lane, Umotong, Allison, Franklin-Fraiture, Pickett, Nichol, Rafferty, Timms
Photo: courtesy of Len Kerswill