Report: Oxford United Women 1 Milton Keynes Dons Women 1

A second-half goal from Izzy Cook looked like it would be enough for Oxford to beat MK Dons and ensure they ended their home campaign with a win, but with the game in stoppage time, the visitors equalised in unlikely fashion, a corner swinging straight into the United net to level the contest.

For their final home game of the season, Oxford fielded a somewhat makeshift defence, with Caitlin Crierie in goal, Nic Gibson at right back and Sarah King, normally a winger, in the other full-back position.

United started brightly, with Lacy-Jai Liggett at full stretch just unable to get on the end of a King cross to the back post. Their best early chance fell the way of leading scorer Zoe Barratt, who was sent on her way by a perfectly weighted Gibson pass through the middle. However, MK goalie Chloe Samson did well to not committ herself and pulled off a good save to deny the United striker.

It wasn’t until the 18th minute that the visitors had their first attempt on goal, when a Hannah Gould shot was deflected, allowing Crierie an easy save. The Dons’ next shot followed shortly afterwards as Milton Keynes began to impose themselves on the game.

Oxford were grateful again to Crierie in the 21st minute for a good save after she was guilty of passing straight to an opposition forward, and she then made a superb double save to deny MK Dons again as they built up a head of steam.

The visitors were unable  to make their pressure tell, though, and the U’s started to get back into the game. Barratt was again on her way to goal when she was brought down just outside the MK penalty area. However, her free kick was a routine save for Samson. 

The final action of the first period saw United’s most dangerous player, Barratt, have an attempt that hit the top of the bar before being cleared.

Oxford started the second half on the front foot, with Liggett quick to close down the MK Dons defence and Barratt still looking dangerous.

However, it was Cook who made the breakthrough in the 58th minute, just after the dangerous Vitallia Budaieva was forced off injured. Good work down the left culminuated in a low cross that was knocked back to Cook, lurking on the edge of the area. She let fly first time to give Samson no chance and give United the lead that their second-half play merited.

MK Dons sought for a way back into the game, but the Oxford defence withstood their best efforts, while United looked dangerous on the counter. In fact, with three minutes remaining, it was a quick break from Barratt that brought another chance for United. With Cook racing into the area, Barratt opted to shoot, with Samson saving both her first effort and the follow-up.

With the game already in second-half stoppage time, MK Dons carved out the equaliser as a left-sided corner looped over Crierie and nestled in the Oxford goal to equalise.

There was still time for Cook to burst through and bring a timely save out of Samson, but in the end neither team could find a winner.

United: Crierie, Gibson, Wiseman, Jenkins, King, Burridge, Legg, Budaieva (Noble 57), Cook, Liggett, Barratt

Attendance: 266

Report: Martin Brodetsky

Photography: Darrell Fisher

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