Women draw 0-0 with Aston Villa in Spring Series
Oxford United Women picked up a useful point against Aston Villa in their second home game of the season on Sunday. Andy Cook’s first game in charge of the Yellows saw a controlled display from his side, ending up with their first clean sheet of the season.
Aston Villa started the game on the front foot – forcing early defensive headers from centre-backs Riva Casley and Rosie Lane. Jess Frampton, a prominent figure in the game, took it upon herself to give the home side an attacking thrust and in the third minute she brushed off a Villa attacker to set up Ini Umotong, who turned two defenders before her pass was cut out.
After the early threat from Villa Oxford settled into their game. The new midfield diamond of Lauren Haynes, Ella Franklin-Fraiture, Emily Donovan and Taome Oliver kept hold of the ball well, ensuring Oxford were the more threatening side. Evie Gane, in an unfamiliar position at left-back, had a solid start to the match, preventing any attacks down her wing. The same can be said for Frampton who was tremendous. Due to the rigidity of the United defence, Villa forward Tash Baptiste cut a lone figure up front – her teammates had to constantly drop to prevent any United attacks.
Despite the dominance, the Yellows couldn’t find a breakthrough despite an Oliver volley and an Umotong effort that produced an equally brilliant save from Aston Villa goalkeeper Claire Skinner. The ever- dangerous Umotong then saw her flicked header crash off the bar and cleared by the Villa defence.
The away team found their feet around the 60th minute, propelling multiple attacks towards the Oxford goal. Demi Lambourne was called into action to make two fantastic saves, one of which saw Baptiste with a chance one-on-one, but the goalkeeper made herself big to make the save.
Oxford’s best chance of the match came in the 90th minute. Haynes flicked a pass through to Umotong, who looked to have been fouled in the box but earnestly stayed on her feet. As she reached the by-line the striker sent in a fizzing cross, Skinner managing to get a hand on it before it could fall to Oliver for the tap-in.
Oxford were terrific in defence and confident on the ball. Sure signs that the team is heading in the right direction under Andy Cook. The squad will be pleased with the clean sheet, and will be looking to develop their promising attacking play even further.
Lineup: Lambourne; Frampton, Casley, Lane, Gane; Haynes ©, Donovan, Franklin-Fraiture (Baker 90+1’), Oliver; Pickett (Noble 83’), Umotong
Unused Subs: Thomas, Deeley