Oxford United Women progressed to the Third Round of the Adobe Women's FA Cup this afternoon with a 2-0 victory over Dartford FC Women.
Zoe Barratt's goal midway through the second half and then another at the death were the difference after United spurned plenty of chances along the way.
Jade Charlton made a fantastic save to prevent United taking an early lead, tipping over as Lacy Liggett stormed in at the back post to attack Shelly Provan’s superb cross from close range.
It was a barrage on the Dartford goal as the Yellow waves came one after the other. Shaunna Jenkins headed Sarah King’s effort back across goal but just wide of the post, before King herself had a strike cleared off the line.
The majority of United’s play came down the left, with Provan and King making the Dartford back line work tirelessly.
Jenkins and Jaime Gotch got the ball moving from the back but the U’s couldn’t break down the Dartford block; King had another effort denied by a last ditch challenge and the sides went into the break level.
The second half continued in the same vein; this time Liggett denied by Charlton from within the six-yard box five minutes after the restart.
Cecily Wellelsely-Smith, filling in at right back, then turned on the edge of the box and bent a left footed effort wide.
It looked like it was going to be one of those days, until United’s top scorer Barratt finally hit the bullseye to down the Darts.
Jenna Legg did superbly to take the game by the scruff of the neck, slide in and win the ball back and play through Barratt. The number 9 still had a lot to do but rode the challenge and tucked the ball under Charlton to give United a deserved lead.
Moments later and she so nearly had a second, firing a spectacular effort over the keeper but onto the top of the post – it would’ve been a picture-perfect goal.
On another day, she’d have had a hat-trick; with 15 minutes to go Liggett played her in beautifully but she was denied again by Charlton and then by a sliding clearance at the second time of asking.
Legg then struck the crossbar from thirty yards out and King hit the post late on as Dartford became very tired.
With seconds left, Barratt doubled her tally for the day, rounding the keeper and finishing into an empty net to put the game to bed at the death.
A valiant fight from the tier five side but the U's were able to see out the victory to put their name in the hat for the Third Round draw.
LINEUP: Sercombe, Provan, Gotch, Jenkins, Wellesley-Smith, Wiseman, Burridge, Legg, Liggett, Barratt, King
Report by Billy Lawrence, pictures by Darrell Fisher