Thursday, 23 May 2013

MATCH REPORT: Oxford United 3-0 Swindon Town

The ladies capped another fine season in style with a dominant 3-0 win over Swindon Town in their final South West Combination match – and their last competitive game until the beginning of their 2014 WSL2 season next March. Oxford had already mathematically been crowned champions following Keynsham Town's 1-0 defeat to Plymouth Argyle on Sunday, but there was no chance of them relaxing for this local derby, with revenge firmly on the mind after their 4-2 defeat to Swindon in the Ambassador Cup back in March.

United started impressively and took the lead after just four minutes when top-scorer Lauren Allison got the wrong side of the Swindon defence and finished coolly with a simple tap in to open the scoring. And just minutes later she had doubled the lead after latching onto a delightful through-ball from Tash Caswell, marking her 50th goal of the season with an appropriately enthusiastic celebration. It was fitting that she should reach such an impressive landmark in what will be her final match for Oxford before taking up a scholarship in America.

Oxford took their foot off the gas slightly after the first ten minutes, passing the ball around nicely but showing little desire to really stretch the Swindon defence further. Swindon, for that matter, looked like they just wanted to get the game finished and go home, reduced to chasing shadows and barely having a sniff of the ball throughout the first 45 minutes.

United came close to stretching their lead further when Allison struck from just inside the area, beating the 'keeper but not the post, which denied her a deserved hat-trick. Swindon did show slightly more attacking intent in the second half, grazing the crossbar twice with lofted efforts from outside the area, but Oxford controlled the pace of the game throughout and finally got their third ten minutes before the end when Tash Caswell tapped in after the Swindon 'keeper had palmed an effort into her path.

The final whistle was greeted by celebrations from the Oxford girls, who must have been delighted to mark their second consecutive league title with a victory over the old enemy (incidentally, Oxford have played Swindon 7 times this season at first team, youth and women's levels and won 6 of those meetings!). The bottles of champagne that were uncorked at the final whistle were more than deserved: the ladies have played 28 matches this season in all competitions and won 22 of those. A fantastic achievement.

Picture from @Laurencereade

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