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Oxford Utd 2 Newcastle Utd 1
Oxford United took another Premier League scalp to move into the last sixteen of the F.A.Women's Cup at the Kassam Stadium.
A bumper crowd of 733 saw the U's, victorious at Charlton Athletic in the last round, defeat Newcastle United 2-1 and enter Monday's draw as the only club from outside the FA WSL and Premier League. After racing into a two-goal lead, Oxford created more chances throughout but were tested by a spirited Toon revival and their progress was in doubt to the final kick.
It took just eight minues for Oxford to score the opener, Natasha Caswell releasing Katie Stanley on the right with a perfect 30-yard pass before the winger lobbed Laura Wareham from the edge of the area.
In total control in the early stages, Caswell added the second after making space on the edge of the area. Wareham got down to her low shot but could not keep it out.
Newcastle went very close to pulling a goal back with their first meaningful attack on 20 minutes. Stacy Crooks' corner was well met by Sarah Wilson with her head and a lengthy scramble in front of goal led to the ball rebounding to safety off the post.
Catherine Beaver had a shot after a flowing move but Wareham held it well. At the other end Crooks was finding dangerous posiions on the right but her crosses twice just evaded attackers. Isi Meade was making strong headway for Oxford from deep on the left, twice earning corners. Skipper Sahara Osborne-Ricketts left her central defensive role to deliver testing set pieces and in recovering a clearance from a corner she was victim of a nasty challenge which required lengthy treatment.
Oxford were inches away from a third when Meade and Lauren Allison combined for the latter to send a low cross which Stanley just failed to turn home from five yards on 38 minutes.
It was clear that the Tynesiders were going to have to offer more going forward in the second half and they did exactly that. Crooks, Beth Gardner and the dangerous runs of Dannika Purdham down the left stretched the Oxford defence far more. It was no surprise when the visitors pulled a goal back, a knock down from a free kick allowing Jess Havelock time and space to drive the ball beyond Hannah Cox from close range on 52 minutes.
Oxford were still moving forward threateningly, especially when Caswell was playing in the speedy Stanley, Allison or Holly Pickett. Allison, the U's leading scorer, blasted high and wide when clean through on 55 minutes and Wareham made fine saves from close range efforts by Caswell and Stanley.
At the other end Osborne-Ricketts, who deservedly won the player of the game award, showed no ill effects from her injury in diving to head away a dangerous cross but the best defensive moment was a great block by Amy Chivers after an excellent run by Purdham had set up a good chance for Gardner from eight yards out.
As the Magpies sought an equaliser, the game became stretched with Oxford going close to sealing the result several times, only to be denied by fine work from Wareham to deny sub Dan Anderson and Allison and the woodwork from a Pickett cross.
Despite losing Purham to injury late on, Newcastle had one final chance to take the tie into extra time but Cox pushed away a dangerous cross and Meade was able to complete the clearance.
The final whistle was greated by an explosion of joy from players, coaching staff and the vast majority of the crowd. Rightly so, as the U's had given an excellent performance against worthy opponents who had fought to the end after a slow start. The attendance on a freezing day was remarkable as have been the performances of the team in reaching the last sixteen of the competition.
Oxford United: Hannah Cox, Lindsay Pinker, Isi Meade, Stephanie Mobbs, Sahara Osborne-Ricketts, Amy Chivers, Lauren Allison, Catherine Beaver, Katie Stanley, Natasha Caswell, Holly Pickett. Subs: Abi Smith, Hayley Bennett, Dan Anderson, Stacey Coles, George Currie.
Newcastle United: Laura Wareham, Courtney Lock, Jess Havelock, Charlotte Potts, Sarah Wilson, Carla Armstrong, Dannika Purdham, Stacy Crooks, Beth Gardner, Alice Teasdale, Lizzy Frazer. Subs: Jess Foster, Megan Pyper, Michaela Sewell, Sam Campion.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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