Oxford United Women lost their final pre-season fixture 4-1 to Wolves Women at New Bucks Head Stadium this afternoon.
Wolves scored two early goals before Lacy Liggett responded in the 13th minute, but the home side went into the break 3-1 up after a goal in the 18th minute. Ania Denham then added another for Wolves midway through the second period to win the game 4-1.
Much like the U’s, Wolves were title challengers until the last minute in their regional division and showed that they’ll mean business again this season in the opening seconds.
A ball over the top found Olivia Ferguson, who took on Cecily Wellesley-Smith and fired across goal to open the scoring with less than half a minute on the clock.
Wolves were on the hunt, and found another in the 11th minute, Beth Merrick bending an effort right into the top corner.
The Yellows didn’t let their heads sink, in fact the opposite, and two minutes later were right back in the game.
A superb pass from Daisy McLachlan split the amber defence open and Liggett obliged with an equally excellent first time finish past Shan Turner and into the bottom left corner.
It was a lively pre-season fixture, and Wolves restored the two goal advantage in the 18th minute when a dangerous ball into the box came off a melee of bodies and into the U’s net.
Caitlin Crierie (stepping up from the Development Squad) made a great save to tip the ball on to the post, Lily Stevens had a free kick attempt that was held well by Turner, and the home side made some sloppy passes which the U’s failed to capitalise on, and so went into the break 3-1 down and with work to do.
Kate Wiseman replaced Izzy Cook for the second half and the U's came out strong; Jaime Gotch's headed effort from Stevens' corner was cleared off the line two minutes after the restart.
Sarah King and a Trialist replaced goalscorer Liggett and skipper Leah Burridge around the hour mark. In the 65th minute, the Trialist picked out a lovely pass into Zoe Barratt, who bore down on goal but couldn't lift the ball past Turner to pull United back into the game.
It was Wolves who scored next, substitue Denham firing a left footed shot with her first touch into the top corner to make it 4-1.
Liam Gilbert made five more changes to try and rescue something from the game with just over 15 to go, but to no avail.
A loss to end pre-season, but there were still positives to take in to the opening day away at MK Dons next Sunday 20th August. See you there.
LINEUP: Crierie, Provan (Gray 77'), Wellesely-Smith (Sherwood 77'), Gotch, Hoare (Trinci 77'), Stevens, Burridge (Trialist 63'), Cook (Wiseman 45'), Liggett (King 57'), Barratt (Swaby 77'), McLachlan (Trialist 77')
Report by Billy Lawrence, Pictures by Darrell Fisher