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Women's Football News
Oxford Utd 2 (Hines 52, Allison 90) Reading Women 2 (Kirby 27, Bruton 81)
Lauren Allison scored an injury time equaliser to earn Oxford Utd their first point of the season from an entertaining local derby with Reading.
Jayne Ludlow's side looked to have secured the points thanks to two brilliant goals from Francesca Kirby and Lauren Bruton but Oxford battled back to earn themselves a share of the spoils.
Reading started the game in confident mood with Cheryl Williams volleying over from a corner and Kirby running at the Oxford defence before trying to set up Eloise Wilson but Rosie Lane made an important interception.
However it was Oxford who twice went close to opening the scoring, first when Kayleigh Hines did well to turn away from two opponents before her lob over Nicola Davies came back off the bar. Reading responded with a dipping volley from Kirsty McGee which went just wide but back came Oxford with Holly Pickett finding Jemma Connor-Iommi who whipped in a dangerous cross for Helen King whose header was blocked by the legs of Davies.
Nevertheless it was Reading who took the lead on 27 minutes as Kirby demonstrated why she is the hottest property in women's football right now. The striker picked up a pass from Rebecca Jane, beat one defender with a swift turn and speeding away from another before giving Hannah Cox no chance with an unstoppable shot which found the top corner.
The goal took the wind out of Oxford's sails and Reading passed the ball around well with McGee and Bruton prompting from midfield. Williams was also looking sharp and she had a great chance for a second when latching onto a long ball and breaking through but Cox came to her side's rescue with a good save.
Oxford had an opportunity in the opening minute of the second half, a Connor-Iommi free kick which was charged down by the Reading wall and Davies gathered safely. Reading immediately counter attacked and, following good work by Bruton, a snap shot from Kirby was saved by Cox.
The break that Oxford needed came seven minutes after the restart. A clearance from Davies was picked up by Hines and the midfielder carried the ball forward before powering a shot in off the far post to level the scores against her old club.
The game flowed from end-to-end with chances for both sides, Sahara Osborne-Ricketts trying her luck from long range with a shot which was just over, then another strong run from Kirby saw her set up a chance for Williams but Hines - who was having a fine match - made a good block to deny her.
Oxford were dealt a blow when Osborne-Ricketts was forced off through injury following a collision with Williams and was replaced by Steph Mobbs.
Kirby again forced a good save from Cox after cutting in past two players from the left but with nine minutes left, Reading re-took the lead. Shelly Cox drove a cross into the area and the ball found its way to Bruton, who took a touch before curling an exquisite left foot shot beyond the dive of Cox and into the far corner.
Allison went close at the other end, meeting a Connor-Iommi corner with a glancing header across the face of goal and past the far post but the young striker, who had run selflessly up front all match, was rewarded as the game went into injury time.
Katie Stanley floated a cross into the area and Allison rose highest to plant her header past Davies to spark wild celebrations from her team.
Oxford needed to survive one more scare moments later, McGee broke down the left and whipped in a low cross for Williams whose low shot was well saved by Cox.
Oxford Utd: Hannah Cox, Jemma Connor-Iommi, Amy Chivers, Kayleigh Hines, Sahara Osborne-Ricketts (sub Steph Mobbs 69mins), Rosie Lane, Laura Low (sub Amber Hughes 85mins), Lauren Allison, Helen King, Katherine Nutman, Holly Pickett (sub Katie Stanley 62mins). Subs not used: Demi Lambourne.
Reading Women: Nicola Davies, Rebecca Jane, Shelly Cox, Kirsty McGee, Alex Keown, Molly Bartrip, Cheryl Williams, Lauren Bruton, Eloise Wilson (sub Melissa Fletcher 56mins), Lois Roche, Francesca Kirby. Subs not used: Grace Moloney, Stacey Wiggins, Ciara Grant, Georgie Giddings, Jade Bradley.
(top) Helen King goes close with a first half header for Oxford
(middle) Francesca Kirby gets in a shot
(bottom) Rosie Lane makes a vital interception to deny Melissa Fletcher
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