Oxford United Women made it nine wins from nine home games this afternoon as they beat Portsmouth Women 3-1 at the Velocity Stadium, thanks to goals from Daisy McLachlan, Lauren Haynes and Beth Lumsden, who has now scored in each of the last five games.
United made one change to the side that beat Chichester & Selsey last weekend, with Sophie Baker replacing Sarah King in the starting line-up.
Portsmouth played the ball around neatly, with some quick one-touch passing, but without threatening Rose Kite’s goal. United took advantage as early as the eighth minute, when a great team move led to the opening goal. The ball was switched from left to right and Carly Johns picked out McLachlan with a pinpoint cross for the U’s winger to sweep the ball home from 10 yards.
Oxford were now in control and could have made it 2-0 but for an outstanding reaction save from Hannah Haughton in the visitors’ goal. Lauren Haynes’ corner was met by Riva Casley, but the Pompey keeper flew to her left to tip the ball onto the bar before the defence cleared.
Undeterred, Oxford continued to ask the questions and extended their lead in the 21st minute thanks to a fortuitous rebound. Beth Lumsden’s free kick deflected off the wall and the ball dropped at Haynes’ feet. Six yards out with just Haughton to beat, Haynes made no mistake as she drilled the ball into the bottom corner.
It was almost 3-0 five minutes before half-time but for another outstanding save by Haughton. This time Lumsden controlled an Emily Wallace cross before volleying the ball goalwards but somehow the keeper managed to tip the ball over to keep her team in the game.
And just three minutes later Portsmouth pulled a goal back after they got goalside of the United defence and Kite brought down Shannon Albuery as she rounded the Oxford keeper. Kite did tremendously well to dive to her right to keep out Cherelle Khassal’s spot kick but was helpless as the ball fell kindly to Khassal to bury the rebound.
United continued to look lively after the break as they looked to extend their lead, with Baker forcing Haughton into another save after being played in by Lumsden. However, this was a rare bit of goalmouth action in a largely contritional second half, in which defences were largely on top and opportunities few and far between.
If a goal was to come it would likely be through a breakthrough from midfield, and so it proved as Lily Stevens powered through a couple of challenges on the right of the Portsmouth area before laying the ball off to Lumsden, who turned home her 16th goal of the season to make the points safe.
United next travel to Crawley for a National League Cup tie and are next at home in the league to Southampton on 20th February. What a game that promises to be!
United: Kite, Mackenzie, Casley, Beaver, Wallace, Stevens, Haynes, Baker (King 62), Johns (Williams 88), Lumsden, McLachlan
Report: Martin Brodetsky. Pictures: Darrell Fisher