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Coventry City travelled to Abingdon to take on Oxford Utd in the Third Round of the FA Women's Cup and eliminated the WSL side with a 3-0 victory.
The Sky Blues were upbeat after defeating Burton Albion the previous week and they hoped to take their confidence in to this game and get past Women's Super League opposition and progress in the cup.
The Sky Blues got off to a flyer as they motored forward and took the lead after 30 seconds. Good pressing allowed Amber Hughes to pick the ball up wide right, she then raced clear and struck the ball across goal, the goalkeeper then spilled and Destiney Toussaint poked in the rebound from six yards to make it 1-0.
City continued to press after taking the lead and Helen Dermody fired wide after seven minutes and a ferocious Amber Hughes cross flashed across the face of goal with Ashleigh Neville and Helen Dermody just inches away from converting. With 11 minutes played a misplaced pass by the home 'keeper allowed Amber Hughes to race through one-on-one, but the goalkeeper redeemed herself and saved down low.
Oxford were seemingly rattled as they struggled to cope with City's high intensity on and off the ball, with the away side looking by far the better side early on. And their pressure was rewarded on 15 minutes, a brilliant ball from Samantha Quayle set Amber Hughes free in the area, she then squared to Destiney Toussaint who slotted home to double Coventry's lead.
With 20 minutes played the Sky Blues were reduced to ten players after Destiney Toussaint was dismissed, and in turn this allowed the home side to enjoy a little more possession but City looked united as a squad. The home side's confidence evidently grew as they looked to find a goal to spark a comeback, but they were restricted in terms of efforts on goal as Coventry defended well.
Chances were few and far between now for both sides, but the away side were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area after the 'keeper clattered Dermody and received a yellow card. Dermody then stepped up to take the free kick and her dipping effort dropped narrowly wide with 40 minutes played. This was the last real action of the half as the referee sounded the whistle to signal the end of the first half.
Oxford looked bright at the start of the second half and drove at City with real drive, and after just one minute Kayleigh Miles forced a good save from Sue Wood. The Sky Blues looked to defend the lead and catch Oxford on the counter, and with 52 minutes played great work by Amber Hughes allowed her to steal the ball and race through on goal, her effort was sliced wide from the edge of the area however.
Back up the other end of the pitch and Katherine Nutman went close for the hosts on 56 minutes, her long range effort was tipped on to the bar and over by Sue Wood. Natasha Lynch then blocked a shot off the line for Coventry and the Oxford follow up was deflected on to the post and wide after Annabel Johnson threw her body in the way of the ball.
Oxford continued to dictate the game and create chances, none of which really tested Sue Wood in the City goal. On 70 minutes Coventry had a chance of their own as they countered with real menace, good work and an accurate pass from Amber Hughes allowed substitute Maz Gauntlett to strike on goal but her effort was held well. Just two minutes later and City made it 3-0 despite the number disadvantage, a superb cross field ball from Amber Hughes found Helen Dermody who controlled before firing brilliantly in to the far corner.
The home side nearly clawed a goal back on 78 minutes as a tempting free kick was headed across goal looping towards the top corner, Jade Formaston and Annabel Johnson then provided the heroics to clear the ball off the line with superb defending. Sue Wood was then alert to stop a Helen King header from six yards on 85 minutes as the home side pressed for a consolation goal.
The full time whistle was blown soon after though to complete a well earned victory over a strong Oxford side.
(Report by Matthew Roper)
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