Cheryl Williams was Oxford United Women's star as she scored two spectacular long-range goals, either side of a Mollie Coupar equaliser, to earn United the three points against a resilient and well-organised MK Dons Women side at Court Place Farm this evening.
Playing just their second league game of 2020, Oxford started brightly and moved the ball around well in the opening stages, although Milton Keynes competed strongly and prevented United any sight of goal. In fact, it was the visitors who carved out the best chance in the first few minutes when a free kick fell kindly to Laura Bright, who had just keeper Paris Sercombe in front of her but her lob was straight at the U's keeper.
MK Dons were to rue this miss just three minutes later when Williams collected the ball 25 yards out and her wicked dipping drive arrowed past Dons goalie Emma Kirby to give Oxford the lead.
United weren't content to just sit on their lead and went forward in search of a second, with Georgia Timms and then Daisy McLachlan both going close before Kayleigh Hines produced a typical piece of skill as her shot from just inside the area struck the top of the MK crossbar to round off a great flowing move.
Despite this dominance, the visitors equalised in the 36th minute with a goal that Oxford would be disappointed to concede. A right-wing corner was met by the unmarked Coupar six yards out to head firmly past Sercombe, who had no chance.
United came out for the second half determined to regain the lead, and they had to wait just four minutes before Williams' obliged with her second goal of the game. This one was from a similar distance to her first but came direct from a free-kick that gave Kirby no chance.
The U's continued to probe but MK Dons kept it tight at the back and Oxford visibly tired in the later stages as their lack of recent competitive football started to show. However, it wasn't until the game moved into stoppage time that the visitors were able to mount any sustained pressure, winning a couple of late corners that were delivered into dangerous areas, but Oxford defended stoutly to see the game out and earn three important points that moves them up to fifth in the table.
Next up, Oxford United Women are at home to Portsmouth this Sunday in another big game. See you there.
United: Sercombe, Roberts, Sims, Haynes, Lancaster (Beaver), McLachlan (Searle), Hines, Timms, Williams (Baker), Allen, Clifford
Report: Martin Brodetsky Photos: Darrell Fisher