Umotong's late strike not enough for the U's
London Bees 3 Oxford United Women 1
04/03/17 | The Hive, Barnet
Any plans of a positive start for Oxford were banished after just five minutes. After running past a couple of stranded Oxford defenders, Hana Lalani slotted a tidy finish into the far post.
United responded with 10 minutes of anger. Ini Umotong was particularly prominent, with a powerful run down the right; her cross was fizzed in, but just out of the reach of Evie Gane. Emily Donovan and Ellie Noble had shots from 20 yards but straight at the goalkeeper.
Umotong had a strong penalty shout waved away as she appeared to be tackled by two defenders in the 10th minute.
In the 14th minute London Bees won a free-kick wide on the right. It was whipped in and, despite the best attempts of Lucy Thomas, Emma Beckett headed it into the net. Both Thomas and Beckett were injured in the collision and had to be substituted.
Oxford showed their defensive instincts with blocks from Riva Casley and Gane. But in the 26th minute a lapse in concentration allowed Ashleigh Goddard to surge through from her own half and send a dipping shot over Demi Lambourne and into the net.
Some nifty passing in midfield led to Donovan getting a shot on goal, but it was well held by Sophie Harris. Umotong fashioned an opportunity for herself, but again Harris was equal to it.
Taomé Oliver made her debut for Oxford on the 60th minute, as the game transitioned into a midfield battle.
Two long-range strikes from Noble were the only source of action for the next 10 minutes. The game settled into a lull as tired legs appeared to take hold, and a positive result remained out of sight.
A bright spark for the Yellows appeared in the 88th minute. Casley started a charge down the left, sliding the ball into the path of Holly Pickett. The winger cut in, onto her right foot, before laying the ball off for Umotong – the striker turning and firing a dipping shot over the goalkeeper.
Unfortunately, it was too little too late for the away side as London Bees saw the game through.
Oxford return home for their next fixture on 12th March against Aston Villa.
Lineup: Thomas (Lambourne 15’); Deeley, Casley, Lane, Frampton; Haynes, Noble; Gane (Franklin-Fraiture 45’), Donovan, Pickett; Umotong.