A young Oxford United Women’s side beat Maidenhead United Women 2-0 in the first of their programme of post-season friendlies at the Oxford Sports Park on Sunday afternoon, thanks to two second-half goals from Isabella Wordsworth and Steph Bent.
Under the charge of Assistant Manager Tom Hartley, Oxford started the first half playing into the strong breeze that blew across the training ground on an otherwise sunny day.
The opening exchanges were cagey and Maidenhead, who play in the FA Women’s National South West Division 1, one level below the U’s, were the equal of United for large periods.
In fact, the only real opening in the first 45 minutes came when Brittany Jeal was able to get into the Maidenhead area, control a cross and shoot on the turn, but her effort went a foot over the bar.
In the second half Oxford were in control and Maidenhead rarely ventured out of their own half. They defended strongly but were unable to prevent United taking the lead from a 54th minute corner. Cheryl Williams’ delivery was on the money and Wordsworth had a simple task to stab the ball into the net to open the scoring.
Oxford doubled their lead six minutes later, when half-time substitute Bent scored with a superb long-distance strike that gave the visiting keeper no chance.
Bent, playing up front, was a handful for the Maidenhead defence all half, and with intelligent running from Sophie Baker at left back and Brogan Moore on the right wing, along with Williams’ delivery from set pieces, the only surprise was that United didn’t score more.
After the game, Hartley said:
“It was difficult circumstances to play in with the wind and it was a different surface as we’re used to playing on Astroturf. It was a different starting eleven to normal, so it was a great learning opportunity for the girls. They worked really hard and there were lots of positives to take from the game.”
Kite, Wallace, French, Wordsworth, Baker, Williams, Stevens, Jeal, Moore, Hartigan, Ashley
Subs (all used): Bent, Brown, Sherwood, Leys, Wynne, Hayes, Habermehl, Gilmore, La Combre, Tyler, Kirby
Match report: Martin Brodetsky
Photos: Darrell Fisher