Oxford United Women went top of the Southern Premier Division this afternoon with a resounding 6-1 victory over Crawley Wasps.
Carly Johns opened the scoring from the spot in the 12th minute, before Daisy McLachlan and Johns added quickfire goals to make it 3-0 to the Yellows at half time. Both players then completed their hat-tricks in the second half, before Amelia Ajao scored in the 83rd minute for the visitors.
United started with a buzz, Johns having the best of the early chances, left unmarked from Naomi Cole’s set piece but glancing her header wide of the post in the sixth minute.
It wasn’t long before United’s number 9 did have her fifteenth of the season, as five minutes later she was tripped in the box after a delightful Shelly Provan through ball cut open the Wasps defence. Johns stepped up and sent Chrissie Wiggins the wrong way to give the U’s an early advantage.
After the goal, United saw a lot of the ball, with centre back pairing Riva Casley and Amy Goddard being patient in orchestrating attacks from the back.
Then the U’s stung twice in as many minutes. First, Cole whipped in a trademark free kick to the near post which Daisy McLachlan (who deserves a goal after her recent performances) flicked home excellently in the 28th minute.
Straight from the restart, the U’s won the ball back and this time the right full back, Lily Stevens, played a perfectly weighted pass into Johns, who took her time and picked out the bottom left corner to make it three before thirty minutes had been played.
Johns almost had a first half hat-trick moments later, but was denied by an excellent hand from Wiggins, tipping the ball onto the post. Casley volleyed Cole’s free kick just wide with the last kick of the half and the U’s flew into the break three goals to the good.
The U's hadn't played at home in the League since October, but the fortress stood strong and United ensured their unbeaten record at Court Place Farm was extended.
Johns buzzed around the Wasps back line all afternoon and within ten minutes of the second half she had found her hat-trick. An excellent one-two between her and McLachlan, who was also superb, put the striker through on goal. She could've squared for McLachlan, but in her form Johns never looked like missing and struck high past Wiggins to make it four for United.
Five minutes later, and Johns did turn provider for McLachlan, finding the winger with plenty of space out wide on the right. She took a second to look up, spotted Wiggins off her line and lifted the ball audaciously over the Crawley keeper for five.
Anything Johns can do, McLachlan can too. United's number seven added her third of the game with a spectacular diving header minutes later, thundering home her effort off the crossbar to complete her hat-trick and make it 6-0 in the 63rd minute.
Iesha Swaby, Leah Burridge and Lacy Liggett replaced Johns, Taome Oliver and Tash Stephens and the U's enjoyed the last thirty minutes, playing some excellent football. What was more impressive was the intensity the Yellows showed with a six goal advantage, pressing the Wasps into mistakes until the final whistle.
It wasn't the perfect day for the U's though as Amelia Ajao looped the ball over Rose Kite to ruin Oxford's cleansheet in the 83rd minute.
An emphatic victory nonetheless, and one that sends United top of the Southern Premier Division, who now have a weekend off before welcoming MK Dons to Court Place Farm under the lights on Tuesday the 14th of March.
LINEUP: Kite, Provan, Casley, Goddard, Stevens, Cole, Oliver (Burridge 76), Legg, Stephens (Liggett, 72), Johns (Swaby 66), McLachlan
Report by Billy Lawrence, pictures by Darrell Fisher