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Oxford Utd 3 (Allison 18, Umotong 68, Nichol 79)
Millwall Lionesses 5 (Hincks 11,66, Loomes 44,51, Babajide 82)
Millwall Lionesses made it worth the wait as they won an eight-goal thriller which contained some outstanding finishing at both ends of the pitch.
The game kicked off an hour late due to Millwall's coach being held up in heavy traffic and in wet conditions at Abingdon, both teams produced some slick passing football to reward the crowd's patience with an entertaining encounter.
Oxford were quickly on the attack and went close as Katherine Nutman's shot was sliced over her own bar by a Millwall defender. Ini Umotong shot wide but the home side's fast start came to nothing as they were hit by a classic sucker punch on 11 minutes, Ashlee Hincks chasing a long ball forward and deftly lobbing the oncoming Demi Lambourne to give her side the lead.
The home side's response was a swift one. Jess Frampton floated a free kick into the area and, beyond the far post, Lauren Allison hooked a dipping volley over Sarah Quantrill and into the far corner for a spectacular equaliser.
Lucy Loomes had a good chance to restore Millwall's lead shortly afterwards when Fliss Gibbons' pass released her on goal but she slid her shot narrowly past the far post. As the game flowed from end to end, Oxford were next to go close when Riva Casley's cross just evaded Allison in front of goal.
The impressive Loomes had a header saved by Lambourne, who also did well to hold on to a low, skidding shot by Danielle Carlton from close range, before Oxford won a free kick 30 yards from goal, from which a powerful strike by Frampton was tipped over the bar by Quantrill.
A goal was looking inevitable and it was went the way of Millwall on the stroke of half time. Loomes again sprang the offside trap and beat Lambourne and her initial shot lacked power, however Casley miscued her clearance straight back to the striker and this time she made no mistake with a firm finish.
Millwall were to put the match firmly in their hands early in the second half, Loomes once again getting in behind the Oxford defence and finishing superbly, dinking the ball over Lambourne for her second goal of the night.
Loomes shot wide after breaking through again but Millwall's fourth goal was to come at the midway point of the second half, Hincks unleashing a stunning strike from 30 yards which sailed in just under the bar, giving Lambourne no chance.
Oxford needed a response and it came just two minutes later, Katja Hakala overlapping down the left and crossing for Umotong to neatly loop a header over Quantrill and give her side a glimmer of hope.
A quickly taken corner led to Ella Franklin-Fraiture's cross being met by an Allison header which was saved by Quantrill but a minute later, Oxford were right back in the game. The skilful Franklin-Fraiture was again the instigator with a superbly weighted pass into the path of Allison and although her low shot was saved by Quantrill, Laura Nichol slid in to force home the rebound and reduce the deficit to one.
Just three minutes later though, a free kick by Carlton was not cleared by the Oxford defence and Rinsola Babajide bundled the ball in from close range to restore the visitors' two-goal advantage.
Allison was just off target with a glancing header as the home side never gave up but there were no more scares for Millwall who take up first position in WSL 2 following the opening round of matches.
Oxford Utd: Demi Lambourne, Jess Frampton, Katja Hakala, Lauren Haynes, Riva Casley, Rosie Lane (sub Charlie Deeley 75mins), Ini Umotong, Katherine Nutman (sub Georgia Timms 80mins), Lauren Allison, Ella Franklin-Fraiture, Laura Nichol. Subs not used: Hannah Cox, Chloe Bruce, Holly Pickett, Madison Lee, Sophie Baker.
Millwall Lionesses: Sarah Quantrill, Billie Brooks, Amber Gaylor (sub Frankie Strugnell 45mins), Danielle Carlton, Leighanne Robe, Naomi Cole, Megan Wynne, Ashlee Hincks, Fliss Gibbons, Lucy Loomes (sub Rinsola Babajide 75mins), Leigh Nicol (sub Lilli Maple 45mins). Subs not used: Ciara Sherwood, Leanne Cowan, Dawn Mallett, Lottie Iverson.
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Danielle Carlton closes down Lauren Haynes
(middle) Megan Wynne tries to prevent Katja Hakala from clearing
(bottom) Ini Umotong battles with Fliss Gibbons
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