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Yeovil Town 0 Oxford Utd 1 (Hines 3)
Yeovil Town's last remaining promotion hopes came to an end and their 25th anniversary celebrations were dented as a well organised Oxford Utd side went away with the points at Sherborne.
It was a good performance and result for the visitors, who still have a mathematical chance of pipping Yeovil to third place, but the game was marred as Glovers captain Natalie Haigh sustained a sickening head injury which held up matters for twenty minutes as she was taken to hospital.
Oxford made a determined start with Lauren Allison having a chance to break through in the opening minute after she won the ball in the area but opted to pass instead of shooting. However just afterwards, they were in front when a 25-yard shot by Kayleigh Hines dipped over Charlotte Haynes and found the far corner of the net.
The goal clearly rattled the home side and Oxford dominated the midfield areas with Ella Franklin-Fraiture dragging a shot narrowly wide from the edge of the area.
An out-of-sorts Yeovil side were struggling to get going but on the quarter hour, they had a great chance to level the scores. Corinne Yorston did well to escape the attentions of Chloe Bruce on the left and cut the ball across goal for Ellis Hillman but the ball bobbled awkwardly as she went to force the ball over the line and she ended up ballooning her shot over the bar.
Helen Bleazard was off target with a free kick and Demi Lambourne did well to move swiftly off her line to deny Sarah Wiltshire as the winger looked to latch onto a crossfield pass by Ellie Curson.
Oxford continued to look dangerous when going forward though and a good move released Holly Pickett down the left. Her low cross was dummied by Allison but an alert Bleazard was able to clear before the ball could reach Katie Stanley at the far post.
The pace of Allison was once again a threat for the U's and she forced a save from Haynes after exchanging passes with Pickett.
Oxford went into the break one ahead at the end of a half which had been something of a stop-start affair, largely due to overzealous and fussy refereeing which had greatly interrupted the flow of play.
Yeovil were inches away from levelling matters within three minutes of the restart. A long throw into the area was not cleared by the Oxford defence and Natasha Knapman pounced to crash an angled shot against the inside of the far post and back into the grateful arms of Lambourne.
Oxford responded with the impressive Franklin-Fraiture curling a shot straight at Haynes but Yeovil were finally starting to gather some tempo and Yorston got on the end of an Ellie Isaac cross but could only direct her corner over the bar.
The game was brought to a halt shortly afterwards when Haigh received a severe bang on the head from an accidental collision with Hines and fell to the floor. The Yeovil skipper was treated for a lengthy period of time before eventually being stretchered off and taken to hospital with concussion.
Play was understandably subdued when it restarted but Yeovil gathered themselves up for a late push as the game went into 23 minutes of injury time, stretched further by injuries to Allison and Bruce.
Wiltshire flashed a shot just wide from the edge of the area and substitute Ann Marie Heatherson drove an effort narrowly past the post a minute later. Heatherson headed into the side netting from a tight angle following a Bleazard free kick into the area as they desperately sought to get back into the game.
Oxford defended solidly throughout the late pressure with Sahara Osborne-Ricketts and Rosie Lane marshalling matters in the centre, well supported by the remainder of the defence and the midfield. Yeovil could not find a way through and Oxford held on for their third successive league win to boost their chances of a top half finish.
Yeovil Town: Charlotte Haynes, Ellie Isaac, Corinne Yorston, Emily Donovan (sub Ann Marie Heatherson 81mins), Helen Bleazard, Natalie Haigh (sub Nicola Cousins 81mins), Sarah Wiltshire, Steph Williams, Natasha Knapman, Ellie Curson, Ellis Hillman (sub Sammy Quayle 90mins). Subs not used: Shauna Cossens, Alys Hinchcliffe, Alice Evans.
Oxford Utd: Demi Lambourne, Chloe Bruce, Madison Lee, Kayleigh Hines, Sahara Osborne-Ricketts, Rosie Lane, Katie Stanley, Katherine Nutman, Lauren Allison (sub Nicole Barrett 90mins), Ella Franklin-Fraiture, Holly Pickett (sub Lindsay Pinker 87mins). Subs not used: Hannah Cox, Ellie Noble.
(top) Chloe Bruce and Sarah Wiltshire in a 50-50 challenge
(middle) Ellie Issac tries to win the ball from Katherine Nutman
(bottom) Ellis Hillman shields the ball from Ella Franklin-Fraiture
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