Emma Johnson’s second-half double comdemned United to defeat and helped Sheffield stay ahead of Oxford in the FA WSL 2 table.
It took the hosts some time to get going as Oxford held on valiantly until half-time, although Sheffield may have felt U’s goalkeeper Demi Lambourne was lucky to stay on the pitch after bringing down Melissa Johnson early on.
Lambourne denied Cain from outside the box but the goals began to flow in spectacular fashion after the break. There was nothing spectacular about the first, however, as midfielder Emma Johnson appeared to knee home Ellie Gilliatt’s cross.
The next three all came within the space of ten minutes as first Cain drilled home from outside the box to double Sheffield’s lead. Johnson then added her second with a free-kick from the edge of the Oxford penalty area as her low effort sneaked past Lambourne at the far post. Dear then got in on the act, the midfielder unleashing a fierce half-volley from outside the area after the U’s cleared a corner off the line.
Georgia Timms scored a consolation with her first touch after coming on as a late substitute, the forward heading home past Danielle Gibbons in the closing minutes.
Oxford manager Andy Cook said afterwards: “We were right in the game first half and then we’ve had a mad 10-15 minutes in the second half where we’ve just collapsed – it was a house of cards.
“Every time Sheffield went forward they hit us but for us it’s not even tactical things, it’s just basic, basic things like blocking shots, working for each other and we made basic errors. It comes down to the individual mindsets.
“Maybe we’ve gone in and maybe we were too positive at half-time because second half we’ve maybe forgotten we have to earn the right to play and we didn’t do that in the second half.
“Credit to the girls that came on because they’re development players and they changed the game for us at the end.
“The quality of their goals was good but, from a coach’s point of view, there were phases of play leading up to them we should have done better with.
“We have to get that enjoyment back into it. The players were enjoying things at the start of the season and it’s hard to get that back.”
The U's are next in action on Sunday 13th May when they welcome bottom club Watford Ladies to Court Place Farm.
United: Lambourne, Franklin-Fraiture (Graham 86), Casley (Timms 86), Short, Hillman, Carlton, Lancaster, Fyfe, Oliver, Chivers, Allen (Noble 68)