Conti Cup Preview
Oxford United Women face Doncaster Rovers Belles on Sunday in the FA Continental Tyres Cup in their final home game of 2017.
Having lost their first three games of the cup competition against strong WSL 1 sides, Oxford have a chance to grab a positive result against a fellow WSL 2 team.
The two sides have already faced each other in the league this season, also at Court Place Farm. The game ended in a 2-2 draw after Oxford midfielder Kayleigh Hines curled a fantastic free-kick into the top corner in the last minute.
In their last league game against Millwall, Manager Andy Cook believes their performance and reaction from the opposition shows how much respect they are being given. “We learnt that even the most in form team in the league set up to stop us playing. For example, Millwall moved Meg Alexander to the right-back area, being a natural lefty she tried to stop us attacking down that side and cutting inside. We have changed the perception of Oxford United from a team that just turns up, to a team that turns up to take three points and win in every game. Millwall were strongly the best team performance we had. In all the other games we’ve had we can look at one player that set us on our way to a point or win, Chloe Chivers and Kayleigh Hines come to mind with some great goals. We have never faced what we did in that game against Millwall, yes they did have some brilliant chances but so did we and at the very top when the wo top teams play they are usually decided with one goal, and that was proved. Demi Lambourne kept us in it and Sarah Quantrill kept Millwall in it. It was such a good game. It’s a shame only 200 or so people witnessed it.”
Andy believes Doncaster will change their approach from the last game between the sides, but he is confident his team can react to that. “I think they will change, they have too, they can’t come here and concede twice again. Doncaster don't lose to Oxford, they will want to remind us of that. Equally we want the chance to just play football again, the girls keep proving to me week on week how much they just want to play and so we will just go and play. It will be a natural performance from us and chance to go out and play for each other. Every single player has their own story of what they give up and what they give to play and we just want that to continue.”
Forward Taome Oliver believes preparations for her side will be any easier having played Doncaster already. “I wouldn’t say that preparations are any easier the second time around. We have to keep our heads screwed on because we know that we’re yet to go to their place in the league as well. But I would say that having already played them and really stepping up our performance in the second half to come back from being down, the character and performance from the last match can definitely be taken into the game on Sunday and give us confidence going forward.”
As for the season as a whole, Taome has been impressed with the positivity. “I feel like so far it has been really positive - we made some great additions early in the season and the quality in the team has shown in some of our performances. The team is confident and, although we came out from the Millwall game with a tough 1-0 loss, right now especially we are very together as a team and have high team morale. We all believe in each other’s ability so we know that we’re capable of getting results this season!”
Oxford United Women face Doncaster Rovers Belles on Sunday 3rd December at Court Place Farm, kickoff is at 14:00.
You can follow the minute-by-minute live on Twitter: @OfficialOUWFC