Oxford United Women fell to their first league defeat in over 6 months on Sunday afternoon losing 1-0 to Plymouth Argyle Ladies.
United's defeat came after a battling performance which saw them push Argyle all the way despite losing captain Lauren Haynes to a second bookable offence midway through the first half.
United started the game the slower of the two sides as they struggled to get to grips with Argyle’s sloped pitch and in the early stages it was the home side who looked the livelier. As the first half wore on Oxford started to impose themselves. Emily Allen, last week’s double hat trick hero, having the pick of the efforts with a drive slipping just the wrong side of the post after good work on the right wing.
The defining moments of the game came midway through the first half. Argyle won a hotly disputed corner down United’s left and whilst the first delivery was cleared a hooked shot from the edge of the area saw Lucy Thomas in the Oxford goal make the save, but fall back to carry the ball over the line. United, still aggrieved at the initial award of the corner, saw Captain Haynes booked for her protests in the aftermath.
It got worse for Oxford as five minutes later Haynes saw red for a second booking after a late tackle.
After the break United came out a galvanised side. Despite being a player down in the midfield Oxford were now the team making all the running and causing an increasingly tiring Argyle to drop deeper and deeper looking to hold onto their lead.
Ellie Noble saw her free kick late in the game fly over the bar after substitute Steph Bent had burst through Plymouth’s midfield and it took a good stop from the home side’s keeper to keep out a low strike from Cheryl Williams. Deep in stoppage time a series of corners saw every United player including goalkeeper Thomas encamped in the Plymouth box, but Argyle stood firm and it was not to be for Oxford.
United won’t have to wait long before getting the chance to go again though as they head north to take on the lead leaders Coventry United Ladies on Wednesday night (7.45pm kick off).