U's make it three in a row
Oxford United Women head into their month-long mid-season break on the back of three straight wins and three consecutive clean sheets following their 2-0 home victory over Watford in FA Women's Super League 2 on Sunday.
Ini Umotong fired the U's ahead early on and returning captain Kat Nutman doubled the score on the half-hour mark.
Nutman returned to the side in place of the injured Laura Nichol, while illness kept out defender Riva Casley for the first time this season, with Rosie Lane, herself returning from a thigh injury, taking her place at centre back.
The match was only three minutes old when the U's took the lead. Holly Pickett charged down the clearance of Watford goalkeeper Sophie Cheadle, allowing Ini Umotong in to tap into an empty net.
Giulia Ferrandi almost responded immediately for the visitors, clipping the bar with an ambitious long-range effort. But that was as close as they would come in the first half as United dominated proceedings.
Umotong's pace caused the Watford defence problems throughout and it was only a matter of time before their high backline was caught out by one of United's quick breaks. Kat Nutman was the beneficiary, racing onto Rosie Lane's ball over the top before coolly slotting the ball into the bottom corner after half an hour.
It should have been three just before half-time when Pickett curled a delightful effort past a helpless Cheadle. However, referee Kieran Bailey had blown his whistle for a foul on Ella Franklin-Fraiture, leaving Pickett frustrated after her free-kick sailed high and wide.
Watford were stronger after the break, but rarely threatened Hannah Cox in the Oxford goal. Ellie Mason fired narrowly wide from just outside the area and Ferrandi shot just over, but Cox remained untested.
At the other end, United had several chances to extend their lead. Lauren Allison ferociously volleyed narrowly wide from Pickett's ball across moments before Umotong also went close, turning excellently in the area and dragging an effort just past the post.
Umotong's hard work nearly paid off again when she seized on a misplaced backpass 13 minutes from time, beating the goalkeeper to the loose ball and prodding it past her and narrowly wide.
Former United winger Katie Stanley drew Cox's only save of the game with a speculative long-range effort, which the U's stopper palmed behind for a corner. But that was Cox's only meaningful involvement in the game as the U's impresively extended their run of games without conceding to three.
United: Cox, Frampton, Haynes, Lane, Umotong, Nutman, Allison (Casley 90+1), Franklin-Fraiture, Pickett (Timms 75), Hakala, Lee. Subs not used: Bruce, Baker, Deeley Lambourne.