We look ahead to this weekend's Women's game
Oxford United Women head to the capital for their second away game in succession. After a good performance against Brighton resulted in a draw, the Yellows will be looking to build on that momentum. They travel to London to face a Bees side with four points from their first two games.
First Team Manager Andy Cook oversaw his first game with Oxford and was pleased with what he saw. “The Brighton game was great, lots of positives came out of the match. Some brilliant individual performances – including a debut goal from Evie Gane – and the team worked hard defensively.”
The Manager acknowledged the work put in by First Team Coach Karl Milgate this week, and is confident in his team’s plan of action. “Karl has done a fantastic job with training this week; the squad are well prepared and we have a lot of options to choose from. Whichever line-up and strategy we use on Saturday, we have to make sure we remain concentrated and focused on our roles - if we all do that we will get the right result.”
Captain Lauren Haynes echoes her manager’s positivity with the teams start to the season. Starting with pre-season and a strong performance in the first game of the season, despite the result, against Everton. “There are lots of positives we can take from the first few games this year. We had a good pre-season, where the training was really strong. The group got a chance to get to know one another and there was a real togetherness around the camp. We started off with an FA Cup defeat which didn't go our way, but we looked back at it, analysed what worked – as well as what didn't work – and had 7 days to try and put it right for our first FA WSL Spring Series game against Everton.
"There was no doubt that Everton were a really strong side who moved the ball at a great intensity and tempo, but we made a few errors that cost us two goals. That didn't stop us working hard and doing the right things, though, and we got ourselves a goal. It was unfortunate there wasn't another 5 minutes at the end of the game as I believe we could’ve scored the equaliser. We then had 14 days until our next game against Brighton, which gave us lots of time to work on the positives, and revisit some of the things that hadn't gone well.” Using those two weeks to train, Lauren mentions, gave them a chance to put their plan into action against Brighton and Hove Albion.
“We took the game to Brighton and dominated possession, creating some great chances.” This gives the team plenty of confidence heading into their third game of the season.
“We’ve had another weeks training before the London Bee's game and we're excited for it. We've had another strong week and our attacking flair is really coming into place.”
The captain sees the inaugural Spring Series as an opportunity to push Oxford United forwards:
“Last season wasn't a great one in terms of results, so this Spring Series is a great opportunity for us to get ourselves back out there and make us a team that other teams will be frightened to come up against. By the time the new season starts, we will be real contenders.”
United have won three of the past four games in the WSL against London Bees. But the home team come into the game on a high having come from two goals down to beat Watford Ladies 3-2.
Cook is happy to see the opposition being stable again, he sympathises with the struggles they’ve had recently. “They’ve had a brilliant start. I'm pleased for them as I know they have had a tough times over recent seasons. They’ve recruited well and that’s shown in the two games they have played. Like each team we play though; I’ve watched their recent games and know the players. Of course being joint top scorers in the league after only two games tell its own story, but we’re ready for them and are confident in our side.”
Haynes reiterated the confidence the team have within themselves and are more focused on what they can achieve than who is put in front of them. “We know London Bees are strong and have made some great signings this season but that's not enough for us to be afraid of them. We are definitely looking to take the game to them this Saturday, this year I feel we are definitely more focused on ourselves and a lot more confident as individuals. As a team, we're more able to express who we really are and how we want to (and know we can) play.”
Oxford United Women take on London Bees on Saturday 4th March. Kick-off is at 14:00 and you can follow the minute-by-minute on Twitter: @OfficialOUWFC.