Oxford United Women made it seven games unbeaten after drawing 1-1 with Ipswich Town Women this afternoon.
United took the lead in the 17th minute through Lacy Liggett before Anna Grey levelled things up just before the half-hour mark for the visitors.
Naomi Cole dropped into centre back and Jess Gray came back into the starting eleven for the U’s, whilst Sarah King returned on the bench after missing out last weekend.
Within two minutes the excellent Leah Burridge got in behind the defence following a Lauren Haynes ball over the top. In the form the Oxford striker is in, it looked like United had the lead, but the ball just wouldn’t fall to her, and she sliced her shot high and wide on the bounce.
Ipswich hadn’t conceded in four games but the U’s were quick to put an end to that. Liggett won player of the match last time out for her dogged performance, and that tirelessness paid off again today. In the 17th minute, Carly Johns threaded the young striker through on goal, who was composure personified, slotting the ball past Sarah Quantrill and into the bottom left corner for her first Oxford goal. 1-0.
The lead only lasted 11 minutes though. Burridge sent an effort wide in the 25th minute but two minutes later the Tractor Girls levelled the score. Abigail Lafayette sent the dangerous Anna Grey free down the left-hand side, who squeezed her effort past Rose Kite from a tight angle to make it 1-1.
Liggett had the chance to double her tally for the day five minutes before half time. A misjudged headed clearance fell to her on the edge of the six-yard box, but she couldn’t rearrange her feet to direct the ball goalward and the sides went into the break level.
It was a bit of a grey area on the left-hand side of the pitch, as Anna Grey caused Jess Gray problems all game. Ten minutes after the restart Ipswich’s number 11 used her very un-tractor-like speed to get in behind, but flashed her effort across the goal and out for a throw-in.
The game opened up as both sides tried to find a winner. Kite made a vital claim on 62 minutes just after Liggett saw her header loop over the crossbar.
Neither side could find the breakthrough in what turned into a scrappy game with plenty of bookings.
That makes it three 1-1 draws on the bounce for United, who despite remaining unbeaten, will be frustrated to have gone three games without a win. The U’s now have two weeks to prepare for a huge game at the top of the table against Portsmouth Women at Court Place Farm.
LINEUP: KITE, GRAY (BAKER, 69’), CASLEY, COLE, PROVAN, HAYNES, STEVENS, BURRIDGE, LIGGETT (KING, 73’), MCLACHLAN, JOHNS
Report by Billy Lawrence, picture Chris Williams