Gemma Sims' second half strike was not enough as Oxford United Women lost 3-1 to Crawley Wasps in the National League yesterday
The first half was a close affair with both sides creating plenty of opportunities but not being able to apply the finishing touches when it mattered most.
The best chances of the opening 45 minutes fell to Kayleigh Hines and Sims, who both saw volleyed attempts sail over the bar, but that was the closest United came to breaking the deadlock.
Crawley were comfortable sitting behind the ball as United pressed but were quick on the counter attack when they needed to be. They created the clearest chance of the half when their midfielder broke into the area but pulled her shot wide.
The second half began a similar story to the first, with United pressing their opponents high and continuing to create good opportunities. The U's had the first say midway through the second hald as Sims fired home a strong corner from Cheryl Williams' delivery to give United the advantage.
The lead wasn't to last very long however, as Crawley hit three goals in quick succession to stun the visitors. Crawley reacted fast to going behind and after having one penalty appeal turned down were awarded the second as their winger grappled with Hines wide in the area. Aimee Watson guessed the right way, but Naomi Cole’s spot kick had too much power.
A mad 10 minutes followed for United, being caught high in possession minutes later and the speedy Rabson was able to race clear and finish calmly past Watson. Just three minutes later it got worse for United as Darcy James powered a header in at the back post from a corner.
Regaining composure, United settled and began to find their rhythm again against the league leaders, creating a couple of openings but struggled to find their way through a stubborn defence.
Crawley's goalkeeper was sent off after lashing out at Williams after the forward chased a long ball. United created chances against Crawley but the opposition sat in two banks of four, making it a difficult task for the U's to break down the defence.
Emily Allen had a shot tipped over late on but United couldn't find a way to get themselves back into the game and had to settle for their first defeat of the league season against table toppers Crawley.
The U's are back in action next weekend as they face Watford away followed in quick succession by a home match against Hounslow next week.
UNITED: Watson, Clifford (Lancaster), Sims, Beaver, Searle, Hines, Haynes, Williams, Gane (Moore), Allen, Timms (Baker)
Unused subs: Kirby, Johns