Oxford United Women vs Doncaster Rovers Belles - Match Report
Oxford United Women score a last-minute wonder strike to earn a deserved draw against Doncaster Rovers Belles.
The Yellows showed their continued improvement with a hard-fought draw against one of the league’s top sides. Any evidence of Oxford’s resurgence under Manager Andy Cook can be seen when five months prior to this fixture The Us lost at home 4-0 to the same Doncaster side.
The late afternoon kick-off saw some frantic action. The Belles came out hunting, using the wings to their advantage. Oxford, meanwhile, offered attacking positioning as a response – often pushing five players into attack.
The first half offered little in terms of clear cut chances, with both defences making crucial interceptions to stop any attacking threat. Twice, Emily Allen was nearly played through, only to see last ditch tackles from Doncaster defenders stop her progress. Allen also had Oxford’s first shot on target with a left-footed shot from a corner lacking any real power.
At the opposite end of the pitch, Kirsty Hanson and Christie Murray were the most lively for the away team. Hanson on numerous occasions showed quick feet to create space for herself.
In the 22nd minute Murray gave Doncaster the lead with a fantastic volley. A corner was headed to the edge of the box, only to be met by a sweet right-footed strike from the Belles forward.
Chloe Chivers and Hannah Short had chances just after the half-hour mark as Oxford looked for a response. Chivers with a shot well saved by Doncaster keeper Jules Draycott, and Short with a flicked header from a Steph Williams free-kick.
Just 14 minutes into the second half, Oxford had their response. Short made a great tackle in her own box and drove forward with purpose, she composed herself and slotted an inch perfect pass through to Chivers. The striker found herself in space, storming towards the Doncaster box she took the shot early, firing low and hard into the bottom corner.
As the game opened up, both teams looked less than keen to settle for a draw. In the 83rd minute Doncaster scored their second. Rebecca Raynor managing to keep the ball in play at the by-line, slide it past Demi Lambourne in the Oxford goal, and give Murray an open goal to slot the ball into.
While Oxford looked for an equaliser, Ellis Hillman – who had a headed clearance off the line earlier on – kept them in the game with a terrific interception at a vital moment.
With three minutes of injury time played, Oxford won a free-kick on the edge of the box and up stepped Kayleigh Hines. She placed her set piece perfectly into the top corner, a sensational strike which gave Oxford the point they deserved. Lambourne consolidated the point with a brilliant save, one-on-one, with the last kick of the game.
Oxford United Women now head away to play WSL1 side Birmingham City Ladies in the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup on Wednesday 11th October, kick-off is at 19:45.
OUWFC Lineup: Lambourne ©; Franklin-Fraiture (Gane 89’), Short, Williams, Hillman; Hines, Noble (Yorston 71’); Donovan, Allen, Chivers, Oliver (Pickett 90+3’).
Unused Subs: Skinner, Baker, Fyfe, Casley