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OUWFC Devs Win Cup Final

Development Squad win 4-2 on penalties to win FAWNL Reserve Cup Final

23 April 2023

Club News

OUWFC Devs Win Cup Final

Development Squad win 4-2 on penalties to win FAWNL Reserve Cup Final

23 April 2023

Oxford United Women's Development Squad won the FAWNL Reserve League Cup Final in dramatic fashion, beating West Bromwich Albion Development on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

Skipper Katie Sherwood gave the U’s the lead in the 21st minute before Ellie McFarlane levelled from a corner in the 36th. West Brom then took the lead through Olivia Stubbs in the 69th, but United responded quickly through Anais Harris-Beechers. The U's then won 4-2 in a dramatic penalty shootout.

United moved the ball well in the early stages, Amy Woodhead and Ellie-Mae Richardson winning possession in the middle of the park and finding the Yellow wingers quickly.

Those two wide players almost combined for the opener; Poppy Dearlove broke down the left and whipped an excellent ball across goal. It looked like Anais Harris-Beechers was going to open the scoring but she just couldn’t get a touch as she stretched at the back post.

The Baggies struggled to get a foot in the game as the U’s controlled possession. In the twentieth minute, Woodhead drove through the West Brom defence and forced a blocked save from Locke.

It was from the resulting corner that Oxford took a deserved lead. The striped shirts in the area failed to clear three times and U’s skipper Sherwood popped up to fire through the bodies to give the Yellows an advantage.

KATIE GOAL - DEVS FINAL.png

The side that played today is built upon graduates from Oxford’s Regional and Emerging Talent Centre’s, the football a testament to the time, dedication and skill put in to create a successful pathway in the County.

West Brom came into the game after the goal, and despite not creating many chances, found the leveller with ten minutes of the half to play. Much the same as the opening goal, the U’s failed to clear from a corner and Ellie McFarlane smashed home after pinball in the six-yard box.

The game became bitty for the last part of the half and the teams went in to the dressing rooms level.

Holly Sellwood almost regained the lead soon after the restart, her curling effort touched onto the bar by Ellie-Mae Locke. Erin Hartigan was on the spot to head home the rebound but the flag went up on the far side.

Lois Joslyn then tested the Baggies' keeper, striking from range as the ball dropped to her from a U's corner, but Locke did well to get down to her right and tip the ball round the post.

Manager George Anthony, who has been in charge of the side since it's inception three years ago, looked to change the game up on the hour mark, Holly Sellwood being replaced by Cecily Wellesley-Smith.

The U's picked up steam and really started to play the game in the final third. Against the run of play though, it was West Brom who took the lead. Georgia Hayes miscued a clearance into the path of Olivia Stubbs, who took two touches and curled the ball into the net to make it 2-1 in the 69th minute.

This side haven't got to the top of their division without some fight, and showed that with an instant response. Wellesley-Smith, who has captained England at the Under 16 level, lifted a superb first time pass into Richardson. She delivered an excellenrt cross flashed across the six-yard box. Locke got a touch, but Harris-Beechers was ready to tap home the leveller in the 72nd minute.

SECOND GOAL - DEVS FINAL.png

The goalscorer who caused West Brom problems all afternoon, was replaced straight away by Isobel Kinsella to try and add some fresh legs up top, and Alex Ashley came on for Richardsom as a last roll of the dice.

In the 89th minute Wellesley-Smith charged into the box but was denied by a big save from Locke at the near post, and then again in the 96th, but it finished level at the end of normal time and went straight to penalties.

The U's took first, and converted all of their penalties, but it was keeper Caitlin Crierie who was the hero, saving West Brom's third and fourth spot kick to make United Champions.

An incredible achievement for a side that has only existed three years and also sit top of the Reserve South East and Central Division. The future of Oxford United Women is bright.

LINEUP: Crierie, Hayes, Sherwood, Flynn, Joslyn, Woodhead, Richardson (Ashley 82), Sellwood (Wellesley-Smith 59), Dearlove, Hartigan, Harris-Beechers (Kinsella 73)

Report by Billy Lawrence, Photos by Pete Kinsella


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