Oxford 1-2 Witney
Well, I’ve never played in a game quite like this one before… (and hopefully never will again!). For once, the ladies’ 2s went out all guns blazing at a sunny Brookes pitch, with a good crowd urging us on.
After a season in which we’ve often failed to reach our potential, we put together a really good team performance, passing the ball around well and supporting one another. Witney, however, are currently 2nd in our league so we needed to step up to match them.
There were chances at both ends in the first half with Miriam, as ever, called on to make some good saves in the Oxford goal. The defence looked well-organised though and Witney were unable to find a way through. And it was Oxford who took the lead when Tinny disregarded the short corner instructions and proceeded to score.
The first-half was only slightly tarnished for Oxford when Katie Cox was sent off for a stick tackle in our D. Confusingly, the umpire then awarded a hit out to Oxford.
Katie returned a minute into the second half and all was going well until 13 minutes before the end… Oxford looked far more comfortable than we usually do and it seemed likely that we’d pick up an important 3 points.
That was until we were reduced to 8 players. Oh dear…
Firstly, Witney created a good break and overloaded our defence. Katie’s last-ditch tackle unfortunately wasn’t entirely within the rules, and caused her to be given another 5-minute rest. Witney equalised from the resulting short corner.
A couple of minutes later, and the sin bin was suddenly getting crowded. Tanky was dismissed for a stick tackle on the left of the pitch. This would have been bad enough, but the umpire on the other side of the pitch then decided he was also going to send off Sam at the same time for – yes, you’ve guessed it! – another stick tackle a few seconds earlier (he’d initially played advantage). In what may have been a case of mistaken identity, Sam was left bemused as to why she was being sent off.
The rest of us meanwhile were left trying to work out how to get 8 players to defend successfully against 11. Sadly, we didn’t work it out and Witney scored their winner, firing home from the top of the D into the bottom corner, just out of Miriam’s reach.
There was still time for a final twist. Oxford, back up to full strength for the last minute or two, won a short corner and the final whistle blew. Tinny struck the ball well and it deflected off Witney keeper Julia’s foot, looping into the air slowly, before ending up in the goal. Sadly, that ball just moved a bit too slowly as the umpire blew his whistle just before it crossed the line, to award another short corner (which Witney cleared to safety).
Man of the Match: Katie and Miriam (?)
Scorer: One-Goal Tinny
Match report by Claire