Georgia Brown’s early opening goal earned Oxford United Women a place in the third round of the FA Cup in Wales today with a 1-0 win at Cardiff City Ladies.
Both sides played an exciting brand of football after almost four months without playing a game but United asserted themselves early on though Brown’s second-minute winner. The U’s’ young midfielder excellently brought the ball down from a long throw to smash the ball home from close range only moments after the referee got the contest underway.
Five minutes later Cardiff were presented with their most promising chance of the first half through Turner, who latched on to a through ball to beat the offside trap with only keeper Rose Kite in her path. However, The U’s goalkeeper confidently made an outstretched save after rushing out to deny the home side an instant equaliser.
Both sides looked to play the game the right way in the Welsh sunshine with Daisy McLachlan’s strength and dribbling ability a useful outlet for United’s fast-paced attacks in the first half – The U’s winger most notably beating Francis-Jones to deliver a teasing cross on the 15 minute mark.
The first half saw chances at both ends, with Cardiff going close to levelling the scores after a scramble in the box on 38 minutes.
Shortly afterwards, United almost douobed their lead through Mackenzie’s darting run down the right flank on the counter-attackwith a cross from the edge of the box which Brown was just unable to steer onto goal.
Brown’s bursting runs proved to be the catalyst for a number of United’s attacks in the second half, with Liam Gilbert's side enjoying a long spell of possession in the opponent’s half to help maintain the pressure.
Cardiff had a huge chance shortly after the hour mark to level the scoreline after a rapid counter-attack saw Kite one-on-one with substitute Davies but United’s goalkeeper made an incredible save after making an early decision to rush towards the attacker and deny a massive goalscoring opportunity for the home side.
In a tense last few minutes counter-attack was followed by counter-attack but it was Brown’s early goal which ultimately separated the sides with Oxford progressing to the next round where they will play Billericay.
Kite, Sims, Haynes, Beaver, McLachlan (Wallace 80), Hines, Williams (Johns 60), Allen, Hayes, Brown (Stevens 81), Mackenzie
Unused subs: Oliver, Baker, Moore, Jeal, Bent, Ashley
Report by Jacob Gill, pictures Darrell Fisher