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Oxford Utd 0 Bristol City 5 (Emslie 12,31, Arthur 30, Farrow 45,83)
Bristol City gave it their best shot on the day but the margin proved to be too much for them to overhaul Yeovil Town in the WSL 2 title race, meaning they had to settle for the runners-up position.
Knowing a six-goal turnaround was needed if Yeovil beat Sheffield, City set their stall out for an early goal and came close when a corner reached the far post and Georgia Evans whose shot hit the side netting. However the opener was not too long in coming and in the twelfth minute, Claire Emslie picked the ball up and ran at the Oxford defence before drilling a low 20-yard shot into the corner of the net.
With Jodie Brett in commanding form in the centre of midfield, City sought further goals and Flo Allen struck the bar, albeit with a cross from the right wing, Eloise Wilson's looping header from the rebound being well claimed by Demi Lambourne, who was called into action again shortly afterwards with a smart save from a stinging effort by Emslie.
The Vixens continued to press and were rewarded on the half hour when Brett floated in a cross from the left and Chloe Arthur glanced a header which just crossed the line despite the efforts of Lambourne to keep it out.
Before Oxford could recover, they found themselves three behind when Brett powered her way into the area and crossed for an unmarked Emslie to plant her header past Lambourne.
Lambourne pulled off good saves from Wilson and Millie Farrow to keep her side in the game whilst Brett lifted a free kick over from the edge of the area. As the game went into injury time though, a superb passing move culminated with Arthur releasing Emslie whose cross was headed home by Farrow to give her side a four-goal lead at the break.
City continued to press hard after the restart but Oxford looked far more secure at the back during the second half with Rosie Lane and Riva Casley looking more solid in the centre. Arthur did try her luck with a long range shot which bounced awkwardly in front of Lambourne in the wet conditions but the keeper's handling was faultless.
Oxford had come into the game more as an attacking force but without really troubling Caitlin Leach in the City goal. At the other end, Evans had a shot charged down and Olivia Fergusson was unable to direct a header on target with her first touch of the ball. Lambourne then made a tremendous smothering save to deny Farrow after she broke through on goal.
The home side almost pulled one back when the Vixens defence suddenly got into a mess but somehow Leach and Hayley Ladd managed to avert the danger and clear, to deny Ini Umotong and Ella Franklin-Fraiture as they tried the force the ball home.
With seven minutes remaining, Farrow burst past two challenges and buried a left foot shot for her second goal of the day and City's fifth. Barely a minute later and it was almost six but Emily Syme's well struck shot from the edge of the area was brilliantly tipped onto the post by Lambourne.
Emslie shaved the post with another strike late on as time ran out for City but they could soon celebrate winning promotion and the successful regaining of their WSL 1 status at the first attempt.
Oxford Utd: Demi Lambourne, Katja Hakala, Jess Frampton, Madison Lee, Riva Casley, Rosie Lane, Lauren Haynes (sub Sophie Baker 58mins), Katherine Nutman, Ini Umotong, Georgia Timms (sub Ella Franklin-Fraiture 69mins), Holly Pickett. Subs not used: Hannah Cox, Charlie Deeley, Zoe Chung.
Bristol City: Caitlin Leach, Flo Allen, Megan Alexander (sub Emily Syme 73mins), Jodie Brett, Frankie Brown, Hayley Ladd, Eloise Wilson (sub Lily Woodham 68mins), Chloe Arthur, Millie Farrow, Georgia Evans (sub Olivia Fergusson 73mins), Claire Emslie. Subs not used: Hannah Reid, Paige Sawyer, Katie Jones, Poppy Wilson.
(top) Claire Emslie fires home the opening goal for Bristol City
(middle) Millie Farrow heads in the first of her double
(bottom) Eloise Wilson takes on Jess Frampton
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