Oxford United Women kicked off their pre-season schedule against Dulwich Hamlet on Sunday winning 8-1 with gtwo goals apiece from Molly Peters and Kayleigh Hines plus strikes from Sophie Baker, Lauren Haynes, Daisy McLachlan and a trialist.
The U’s' 161 day wait for a football game finally came to an end when Dulwich, of the London and South East Regional Women’s League faced against Liam Gilbert’s side.
Hamlet struck first, netting after converting a low cross into the box after a quick counter attack. However, United quickly picked up the pace and Peters soon gave her side the advantage with two goals of her own. The first goal was a product of Peters’ quick-thinking and rapid acceleration to rush past the defence and slot the ball home, and the second was a tidy finish from close range after the ball was switched across the face of goal to give Oxford a 2-1 lead.
A trialist goal and a neat finish from Baker put United in the driving seat before captain Haynes found space at the back post to make it 5-1. Players Player of the Year Kayleigh Hines, then added two goals of her own, with her first strike cannoning off the crossbar from long range in a reminiscent fashion to the goal which won her Goal of the Season for 2019/20. McLachlan then added United’s eighth goal of the game to wrap up an emphatic win.
Manager Gilbert told us.“Dulwich gave us a really good test, a good challenge. A physical team, I think that they’ll do really well in their league next year although they weren’t just a physical team, they try to play some good football and they try to do things the right way.”
Next up are Wolves and Nottingham Forest, with Forest being led by former-United manager Andy Cook- two teams who will provide tough opposition to help the team gear up for a promotion push in the coming year.
“We’ve got good relationships with both teams’ managers; we play Wolves every year so it’s always a good challenge" Liam said. "Again, they were quite unfortunate with the early end to last season to not get promoted, but it should be a good challenge and I’m looking forward to it.
”It has been a strong summer so far of player recruitment for The U’s
“For anyone who’s coming into this group, we’ve got quite an established team, so anyone coming in would have to pick up what we try to do quite quickly. We’ve got such a great group of people, not just footballers, so it’s quite easy for them to bed in that way. Now it is just about making sure that they do it on the pitch when the games come around.
To round off the pre-season schedule, new signings Rose Kite and Lily Stevens will face-off against their former clubs Southampton and AFC Wimbledon respectively before United wrap up their preparations for the start of a new FA Women’s National League season.