Two goals in the dying minutes from Riva Casley and Carly Johns secured Oxford United Women’s place in the main draw of the League Cup after a hard-fought Determining Round tie against AFC Wimbledon at Carshalton this afternoon.
United manager Liam Gilbert rotated his squad with goalkeeper Rose Kite – ever present in league matches – giving way to Paris Sercombe and free scoring forward Beth Lumsden on the bench.
In a competitive first half neither side could find the breakthrough. United applying the bulk of the pressure but Sercombe was called on to make a low save from the Dons’ Ashlee Hinks midway through the first half and then tip Megan Stow’s effort onto the bar – the U’s keeper showing no rustiness in her first competitive game of the season.
Still goalless after an hour, Gilbert brought on Lumsden and Megan Alexander then fifteen minutes later, with the game still goalless, Gemma Sims was introduced in place of Cat Beaver and Molly Childerhouse replaced Sarah King.
The breakthrough finally came as the game moved into its final ten minutes. A sublime volleyed cross from captain Lauren Haynes found defender Casley at the far post and she finished to put United in front.
The U’s' victory was confirmed in stoppage time when Sophie Baker created space before delivering to the back post where Johns headed home.
There was still time for Wimbledon to ensure a nervy final few seconds when Hinks pulled a goal back for the home side, but it's United who progress into the main draw of the League Cup.
United:Sercombe, Mackenzie, Beaver (Sims), Casley, Wallace (Alexander), Stevens, Haynes, Ackerman (Lumsden), Baker, King (Childerhouse), Johns. Subs: Alexander, Childerhouse, Lumsden, Sims, Leys (not used).