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Women's Football News
Oxford Utd 1 (Low 53) Watford 2 (Donnelly 16, Wilson 45)
Oxford United went down to a home defeat by Watford after a poor first half in which they conceded twice.
Laura Low pulled a goal back in a much improved second half, but Watford held on to deny Oxford what would have been a deserved point.
Oxford and Watford both started with a 4-2-3-1 formation that is becoming increasingly popular but it was the visitors who looked more comfortable and who dominated the early stages of the game. Watford pressed the Oxford defence and looked to the wings to exploit United's lack of pace at the back, while up front Laura Low struggled in her lone striker role.
United did look quite sharp on the break and Katie Stanley's pace had the Watford back line retreating but they were unable to trouble Lauren Davey in the visitors' goal and in the 18th minute, Oxford fell behind to a scrappy goal. A mix up between Jemma Connor-Iommi and Amy Chivers allowed Stacie Donnelly in to lob Demi Lambourne and give Watford the lead.
United improved after going behind and enjoyed some sustained possession, although again they failed to take advantage. This was to haunt Oxford as on the stroke of half time Watford doubled their lead and again it was a defensive nightmare for the U's. Watford broke from an Oxford attack and with three visiting players bearing down on goal it looked certain that United would concede. However, Lambourne produced the first of a string of excellent saves, getting down well to block the shot. Unfortunately for her Jo Wilson was following up and she finished emphatically to give Oxford an uphill task in the second half.
With Louise Fellows replacing Holly Pickett at the interval, United looked much brighter after the break and in the 53rd minute the change paid dividends as Fellows was involved in the move that led to Low dancing round a Watford defender and finishing low past Davey.
Lambourne came to Oxford's rescue in the 68th minute with a great tip over from a Kim Farrow drive and she again responded instinctively to pull off a copycat save from the corner. This was matched by Davey in the Watford goal three minutes later when she tipped over Fellows' shot after being set up by fellow substitute Lauren Allison.
Katie Stanley then brought out another good save from Davey with a shot on the turn from just two yards out. With Allison heading onto the roof of the net, United were regretting their inability to convert their chances and Watford almost put the game beyond the Yellows with a well struck free kick that again brought the best out of Lambourne.
Megan Alexander headed the corner off the line as United held out and with the game entering stoppage time there was panic in the Watford area from a late United corner. However, the visitors were able to scramble the ball clear and the referee called time on an action packed second half that was a great advert for the women's game.
Oxford Utd: Demi Lambourne, Jemma Connor-Iommi, Megan Alexander, Kayleigh Hines (sub Gemma Simmonds 69mins), Sahara Osborne-Ricketts, Amy Chivers, Katie Stanley, Katherine Nutman, Laura Low (sub Lauren Allison 69mins), Helen King, Holly Pickett (sub Louise Fellows 45mins). Subs not used: Steph Mobbs, Lindsay Pinker, Chelsea Coles.
Watford: Lauren Davey, Georgia Mays, Chloe Gunn, Renee Hector, Amelia Gulley, Cally Rowell, Stacie Donnelly (sub Ella Hill 90mins), Katie Natkiel (sub Kim Farrow 58mins), Emma Beckett, Megan Wynne, Jo Wilson (sub Paige Logie 80mins). Subs not used: Grace Gillard, Shayla Burgess.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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