Oxford United Women's unbeaten start to the League campaign came to an end this afternoon as they lost 2-1 away to Cheltenham Town Ladies.
Issy Newns and Laura Holden scored for the home side at either end of the first half to put United behind at the break. Iesha Swaby then pulled one back for the U's in the 64th minute, but they couldn'd find the leveller they more than deserved.
Shelly Provan and Daisy McLachlan both put good deliveries into the box early on, but neither could be converted by the U’s and the Robinesses struck first.
Cheltenham are a much better side than the one that came to Court Place Farm early in the season and showed that by scoring the first goal against Oxford away from home this campaign.
Issy Newns got in behind Jaime Gotch and lifted the ball excellently over Rose Kite in the tenth minute to put the home side ahead.
It was only the second time United have gone behind in the League and Cheltenham did well to stop the Yellows from responding quickly.
Iesha Swaby turned excellently in the box in the 24th minute, but Emily Owen blocked, and Provan and McLachlan, who were United’s brightest sparks, put some dangerous deliveries in from the left.
Then in the 35th minute it looked like United had the leveller. Naomi Cole’s corner flicked off a medley of heads and onto the crossbar, followed by a goalmouth scramble that just wouldn’t fall for the U’s.
United really started to pile the pressure on dominating the ball. Carly Johns, McLachlan and Cole all went close, but it was Cheltenham who found the next goal, completely against the run of play.
With seconds left in the half, Laura Holden saw Kite off her line, struck the ball over her head from range and somehow the U’s went into the break two goals behind.
United came out fast, Swaby twisting and turning on the edge of the box before letting a left footed effort go which was well held by Watson.
Sarah King was replaced by Lacy Liggett in the 54th minute, who came on to face the side she was promoted with last season, before Johns was denied from five yards out by a miraculous save by Aimee Watson in the Cheltenham net.
Liggett almost made an immediate impact, heading Cole's floated corner just over the bar from underneath it.
Then, finally, United got their deserved goal to pull themselves back into the game in the 64th minute. Lily Stevens' cross was brought down excellently by Swaby, who swivelled and fired her half volley into the top left corner.
United then thought they had found the leveller. In the 69th minute Cole's cross was seemingly scrambled over the line, and the U's thought that the referee had signalled for a goal. United went to regroup for a restart before the officials disallowed the goal and gave a free kick to Cheltenham.
Tough for the U's, who had to go again and rolled the dice by bringing Tash Stephens on for Daisy McLachlan. The sub did well to deliver a cross in the 79th minute which Swaby headed goalwards, but was cleared off the line by Courtney Jones.
United made their final change when goalscorer Swaby made way for new signing Amy Goddard in the 82nd, who came on for her United debut up front.
It wasn't a bad performance from the U's, who conceded just before half time for the second game running, but they just couldn't find the back of the net on enough occasions and lost for the first time this season.
LINEUP: Kite, Stevens, Casley, Gotch, Provan, Cole, Burridge, Johns, McLachlan (Stephens 75), Swaby (Goddard 82), King (Liggett 54)
Report by Billy Lawrence, pictures Darrell Fisher