Oxford United Women beat Exeter City Women 3-1 this afternoon in a behind closed doors pre-season friendly.
Leah Burridge opened the scoring for the U’s before Zoe Watkins found a first half leveller for the visiting side. Sarah King then got her second goal in two pre-season games to win the match midway through the second half, with a trialist then adding a third in the final ten minutes.
The U’s started much slicker after two full weeks of pre-season. Eleven minutes in they had the lead when the ball was switched over to Shelly Provan who drove and picked out a cross to the back post.
It wasn’t an easy chance as the ball swirled in the wind and drizzle, but Burridge, breaking forward from midfield, took one touch to delicately take the ball past her marker and a second to drill the ball low into the bottom left corner.
Seventeen minutes in, Jaime Gotch moved into midfield after a strong tackle from a Trialist left her injured and she had to make way for another player on trial.
The Grecians pressed well and forced an error to level the game in the 23rd minute. Paris Sercombe took a heavy touch from a back pass, and when her clearance crashed back off the onrushing Watkins and into the back of the net, it was game on.
United almost reacted instantly, when Burridge and Iesha Swaby played an intricate one-two and the latter’s first-time effort flew just wide of the top right corner, but Sercombe also had to make a big block at the feet of the lively Jenna Markham to keep it level at the whistle.
Much like at Abingdon, the U’s switched all the outfield personnel at the break, with plenty of trialists getting a chance to show what they could do.
It was King though who found the lead in the 66th minute. A free kick was taken quickly into the winger’s feet, who didn’t hesitate and thundered a low drive into the bottom corner before the Exeter defence could react.
The U’s made a few more changes after the second goal, with King making way for Lacy Liggett, Katie Sherwood replacing Jess Gray and Caitlin Crierie coming on for Sercombe.
With ten minutes to play, Oxford put the game to bed when Liggett carried the ball down the right and delivered a lovely cross into the feet of a Trialist to finish deftly over the Grecian goalie.
A second pre-season win of the week and another solid run out. Thank you to Exeter City for the game.
Sercombe, Provan, Gotch, Trialist, Mackenzie, Burridge, Wynne, Trialist, McLachlan, Swaby, Trialist
Sercombe, Hayes, Trialist, Gilmore, Gray (Sherwood 68’), Trialist, Stevens, Trialist, King (Liggett 68'), Hartigan, Trialist
Report by Billy Lawrence, Photos by Darrell Fisher