Oxford United Women moved to the top of the Southern Premier Division with a 1-0 win at Gillingham Women this afternoon.
Carly Johns scored her sixth of the season to win the game in just the 12th minute. United’s number 9 pressed the Gillingham defence, nicked the ball and slotted it calmy into the bottom left corner to give the U's the lead.
It was an excellent first half display, with Johns leading the line expertly and forcing Gillingham into mistakes. Her pressure nearly paid off again, as she intercepted a loose pass from Cara Davies, beat one defender all ends up but slipped just before she was about to get her strike off.
The hosts were supported well at their new home and tried to attack the width with Mel Espinosa and Phoebe Leitch, but Shelly Provan and Lily Stevens at full back were rock solid and United were 1-0 up at half time.
The rain cleared and Gillingham came into the game. but sub Iesha Swaby, replacing Lacy-Jai Liggett for her second Oxford appearance, had an instant impact, picking the pocket of Amy Haynes and shooting from the edge of the box, but the ball went just wide of the right-hand post.
Then, in the 66th minute, some beautiful feet took her past two defenders but Davies came out just fast enough to block her effort and send it over the bar.
Provan was terrific all game, a rock at the back but also sending in dangerous delivery after dangerous delivery. Lauren Haynes and Daisy McLachlan had a few efforts from long range but nothing that overly tested Davies and United were able to see out the victory.
Three wins in a row without conceding sends United into their Women's FA Cup Tie against Chesham United Ladies with plenty of momentum. Come and support the squad in the WFA Cup next Sunday at Court Place Farm.
Report by Billy Lawrence, pictures Darrell Fisher