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Women's Football News
Oxford Utd 2 (Hines 66, Allison pen 80) Durham Women 2 (Purfield 31, Hepple 63)
Oxford United clawed back a two-goal deficit late in the game to claim a point in their WSL 2 match against Durham Women at Abingdon United.
The visitors had looked set fair to continue their excellent run away from home when Jemma Purfield and Beth Hepple had established the lead by the hour mark but Oxford had battled with spirit throughout and strikes from Kayleigh Hines and Lauren Allison, from the spot, levelled the match and ensured honours were shared in an entertaining encounter which demonstrated the progress which both clubs have made over the course of the season.
United created the early chances with an Allison header from a Katie Stanley cross and a Hines turn and shot from 35 yards which just cleared Anna Moorhouse's bar. Durham looked sharp when in possession, with Beth Jennings firing in a near post effort which Demi Lambourne held. The U's keeper did even better when Sahara Osborne-Ricketts was penalised for a foul 25 yards out in the centre of the goal. Hepple's free kick was destined for the top right corner till Lambourne clawed it away at full stretch.
Oxford were having more of the possession but it was Durham who took the lead just after the half hour. A cross from the right found Purfield beyond the last defender and she took a neat touch before guiding the ball under the advancing Lambourne.
Oxford should have equalised on 40 minutes when a fine run and cross from Allison found Laura Low free ten yards out but her shot hit the post and rebounded into the hands of Moorhouse.
Oxford continued to press after the break, Helen King winning a corner and Moorhouse saving well at the feet of Ellen Franklin-Fraiture. Allison was inches away from equalising on 56 minutes as she found a yard of space deep in the Durham box but her shot on the turn flew inches wide of the post.
A free kick wide on the left gave Durham their second on the hour. Hepple lofted a 35-yard effort which this time evaded Lambourne's reach and ended in the top right corner for a 2-0 lead.
Oxford needed a quick reply and they got it on 66 minutes. Jenna Connor-Iommi took a free kick from a similar position to that for the second Durham goal, but her delivery was totally different. A skimming head high near post delivery was met by a clever back header by Hines which diverted the ball wide of Moorhouse.
Hepple had another free kick effort just over from distance and Durham continued to look dangerous, especially when Zoe Ness was given time and space in midfield to pick passes for Purfield and Jennings to run on to. However, Stanley and Allison were looking threatening as well and excellent work by Low earned Oxford a penalty as she was fouled when driving past a defender to the left of goal.
Allison's conversion of the spot kick was emphatic on 80 minutes and the match was wide open. To both teams' credit, the remainder of the contest was end to end with promising situations being created but strong defending snuffing out the chances. Hines had an effort over from distance on 87 minutes but clear cut opportunities eluded both sides as a good contest ended all square.
Is was easy to see how Durham have lifted themselves well clear of the bottom of WSL 2. Hard working, well organised and with threats from both wings, they can pose a threat even when under pressure. Oxford played some lovely passing football at times but were not able to find the final ball to open up the defence often enough. However their spirit and determination was in evidence once again as they drew level on eight points with London Bees.
Oxford United: Demi Lambourne, Amy Chivers, Katherine Nutman (sub Laura Nichol 89mins), Sahara Osborne-Ricketts, Helen King, Jenna Connor-Iommi, Kayleigh Hines, Ellen Franklin-Fraiture (sub Gemma Simmonds 60mins), Laura Low, Katie Stanley, Lauren Allison. Subs not used: Holly Pickett, Lindsey Pinker, Jody Marshall.
Durham Women: Anna Moorhouse, Jen King, Ellie Christon, Sarah Wilson (sub Becky Hanratty 45mins), Victoria Linsley (sub Laura Stockdale 59mins), Lauren Jordinson, Beth Hepple, Emily Scott (sub Kate Bradley 85mins), Zoe Ness, Jemma Purfield, Beth Jennings.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Jemma Purfield scores the opening goal past Demi Lambourne
(middle) Beth Hepple and Lauren Allison go head to head
(bottom) Kate Bradley clears away from Ella Franklin-Fraiture
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