REPORT: Oxford United 2 - 3 Sheffield FC
Three goals in 13 minutes saw Sheffield FC produce a superb second half comeback to overturn a 1-0 half-time deficit against ten-man Oxford United.
Excellent strikes from home debutant Jenna Dear, Emma Johnson and Ellie Gilliatt decided the affair, with Ini Umotong being sent off for the visitors shortly after scoring her second of the game.
The visitor’s breakthrough came when Umotong went over following a challenge from captain Carla Ward and the star striker picked herself up to send Jules Draycott the wrong way from the spot.
But Sheffield were a different side after the break and Dear’s free-kick caught out Lucy Thomas to level things up.
Soon after, an fine effort from Johnson put the hosts in front before Gilliatt added a third with a curling effort from just inside the area.
Then came more drama, Umotong added her second when she headed a cross past Draycott but just after picking up a booking, she was shown a second yellow after trying to wrestle the ball off the Sheffield goalkeeper.
It ended any real hopes of a comeback from Oxford and Zoe Johnson’s side held on for a much needed three points.
Oxford United manager Andy Cook said:
“In the first half we were really good, we wanted to control the game without the ball because we knew the strengths Sheffield had coming into the game.
We doubled up on Ellie Gilliatt and we did a really good job but we’ve been undone by a soft free-kick, but it’s a really great finish from Jenna Dear.
We’ve lost two more great goals and then we get back into it, but Ini’s shown some frustration and then we’re down to 10 players.
From the footage we’ve seen it doesn’t look like she’s done a whole lot wrong but it’s one of those where we can only control what we do.
We’ve got to get the ball quickly and the goalkeeper has tried to stop us, maybe Ini should know she can’t do that kind of thing in that situation but we’ve put in a really good performance and had a real good go today, it’s a minute detail for me because overall we’ve shown where we can go.”
Sheffield FC 3
Dear 52, Johnson 58, Gilliatt 65
Oxford United 2
Umotong (Pen) 17, 76
Sheffield FC (4-3-3): Juliana Draycott; Danielle Cox, Sarah Jackson, Carla Ward, Emma Johnson; Rhema Lord-Mears, Jenna Dear, Sherry McCue, Hannah Dale, Ellie Gilliatt; Lagan Makin
Substitutes: Hannah Cain for Makin 55, Suzanne Davies for Dale 81, Billie Murphy for Jackson 90
Substitutes not used: Claire Wallhead, Sophie Jones, Chloe Dixon, Kenedy Owen
Red Cards: None
Oxford United (4-3-3): Lucy Thomas; Jess Frampton, Riva Casley, Rosie Lane, Charlotte Deeley; Lauren Haynes, Ellie Noble, Emily Donovan; Taome Oliver, Holly Pickett, Ini Umotong
Substitutes: Ella Franklin for Donovan 61, Lauren Allison for Pickett 61, Sophie Baker for Deeley 90
Substitutes not used: Demi Lambourne, Madison Lee.
Bookings: Umotong 73, 77
Red Cards: Umotong 77
Referee: Kenwyn Hughes