Oxford United Women were held to a 2-2 draw in an entertaining fixture with Brighton & Hove Albion Women.
Heading into the game unbeaten, The Yellows were full of confidence and they showed some fluid attacking play at times. The home team lined up with a makeshift backline, with Hannah Short suspended for the fixture. Despite this they were strong in the tackle and frustrated former Oxford striker Ini Umotong.
In an end-to-end first half there were big chances for both teams to take the lead. Taome Oliver’s shot-come-cross was lofted in from the right and slapped the post, bouncing into the grateful arms of Albion keeper Lucy Gillet. At the other end of the pitch, Fliss Gibbons had a golden opportunity to put The Seagulls ahead, but she scooped her shot over the bar. Almost immediately afterwards, Emily Allen was played through one-on-one with the goalkeeper, unfortunately shooting straight at Gillet.
Ellis Hillman and Steph Williams had very strong games in the centre of defence, blocking shots and making crucial interceptions.
In the 56th minute Brighton got a goal to put them ahead. Sophie Perry floated a free-kick into the box and Ini Umotong and Dan Carlton both looked to get touches on the ball as it went into the net with the goal awarded to Umotong.
Just eight minutes later, Oxford had their equaliser. Hillman was strong in a tackle with Umotong, charging forwards with the ball. She pulled off a sensational skill to break past a midfielder and showed great vision to slot a ball through to Chloe Chivers. Chivers took her time and composed herself as she ran through on goal, slotting a left-footed finish past Gillet.
With the momentum on their side Oxford took just six minutes to score their second. Some great, intricate play down the right involving Ella Franklin-Fraiture and Taome Oliver saw the former feed the latter on the edge of the box. Oliver smashing a pin-point shot into the top corner.
Five minutes from time, The Seagulls had their equalizer, Perry curling a very good free-kick into the back of the Oxford net.
While Oxford will be disappointed they couldn’t hold on for the win, they will be very pleased with some of their fluid play.
United: Lambourne, Franklin-Fraiture, Williams, Hillman, Yorston, Allen, Hines, Carlton, Donovan (Noble), Oliver, Chivers (Fyfe)
Oxford United Women face Manchester City Women on Thursday 2nd November. The Continental Tyres Cup fixture kicks off is at 19:45.
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