REPORT | Women Beat Cardiff City Ladies

Oxford United Women earned a hard fought 1-0 victory against Cardiff City Ladies yesterday afternoon.

Zoe Barratt scored her 21st goal of the season from the penalty spot as the U’s made it back-to-back wins.

Lacy Liggett has the best early chance for either side, latching on to a pass from Shaunna Jenkins but putting her shot too close to the onrushing Cardiff keeper.

The U’s dominated the first half, with Izzy Cook going on a mazy run from her own half before hitting the side netting with her effort.

It looked as though the pressure wasn’t going to pay off before the half-time whistle, but Barratt had other ideas. She was taken down inside the box to earn herself an attempt from 12 yards, which she characteristically fired far beyond the keeper’s reach to put United ahead just before the break.

It was a cagey second period, with Paris Sercombe called into action more often than in the first 45, tested by a free kick right on the edge of her box.

The U’s made four quick changes after that, with Tash Stephens and Taome Oliver replacing Liggett and Jaime Gotch, before Ellie Noble and Lily Stevens replaced Jenna Legg and Leah Burridge minutes later.

Sercombe had another free kick to deal with before Poppy Dearlove replaced Cook and the U’s were able to see out the clean sheet and the victory.

Centre half Nicola Gibson spoke to after the game.

“We’ve had three games in a week so we knew we needed to get the three points no matter what. The first half was really good from us and the second half we just had to grind out the clean sheet and result.

“Everything we worked on in training came out in the first half, we dominated possession and I think 1-0 wasn’t a fair reflection. In the second half they set in a block and we just had to be patient.

“Today showed a proper team effort so we’re looking forward for a rest before next Sunday and just try to keep winning every game for the rest of the season.”

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