Oxford United Women beat Oxford City Ladies 2-0 at Court Place Farm on Sunday to lift the Oxfordshire Women’s County Cup, thanks to second-half goals from Ellie Noble and Flo Fyfe.
Played in extremely hot conditions, with a pitch-side temperature of 36 degrees Celsius, it wasn’t surprising that the pace of the game was initially slow, with both sides content to retain possession and let the opposition do the running.
This worked in United’s favour more than City’s, and it was the U’s that dominated possession throughout. The Hoops opted for a strategy of containment, packing the defence and playing with a lone striker up front.
It was a sensible move against their higher league opponents and it worked well throughout the first half, with United not troubling Nat Morris in the City goal, apart from a couple of routine takes, until the 21st minute, when she got down well to keep out Cheryl Williams’ shot.
United continued to make the majority of the running, with goalkeeper Paris Sercombe largely a spectator, but the determined City rearguard did its job well. The Yellows went close on a couple of occasions, with Emily Allen’s overhead kick drifting just wide and Fyfe’s shot on the run finding the side netting, but the Hoops will have been content to hear the half-time whistle with honours even.
It was a similar story at the start of the second period, although it began with City’s first meaningful attack of the game, with the ball just evading Tizzy Russell-Cartwright from April England’s cross. City's resistance was finally broken in the 67th minute when an Allen cross was met by Noble at the back post for a simple tap in, the United striker for once finding some space in the City box.
Morris and her defence continued to perform heroics to keep out United’s strikeforce, but the U’s once again found a way through with ten minutes remaining. It was another Allen cross that did the damage, this time the ball reaching Fyfe who finished with a spectacular half-volley back across the goal to ensure that it would be United’s name on the cup this season.
This was a far from routine win for the U’s in difficult conditions against a dogged City side that did themselves an awful lot of credit, a fact recognised by the Oxfordshire FA officials at the post-match medals presentation.
United: Sercombe, Roberts, Mobbs, Lynch, Bent, Allen, Baker, Walklett, Gane, Noble, Williams
Rolling subs: Haynes, Lancaster, Timms, Fyfe, Hennessy