Kim Stennings’ resolute Crawley Wasps put on a solid display at home to Oxford United and came away with a hard fought win thanks to an Emma Plewa goal in the sixty-ninth minute.
Oxford began the game with the same side that defeated Bridgwater United, ending their unbeaten start to the season. Stenning made one change, bringing in Iesha Swaby for Nyara Denny.
It took less than five mintures for Oxford to test Wasps’ keeper, Megan Lynch when she saved well from Beth Lumsden after Carly Johns’ cross.
Plewa began the match looking bright going forward, her effort from the left hand side floated passed the far past. I’ve seen her score these sorts of efforts, most recently against Portsmouth.
It was then Johns’ turn, she picked up the ball from Daisy McLachlan, the shot beats Lynch but is cleared off the line by Wasps and Sophie Baker’s follow up was saved.
Shortly afterwards, Daisy McLachlan beautifully chests down the ball at the back post but the oncoming Lynch smothers well. McLachlan was presented with another chance moments later, however, Lynch was again equal to it.
The teams went into half time with it 0-0 but this game was very much not a dull affair. Both teams looking committed, dangerous going forward and both possessing the ability to win the game in the second half.
Oxford started the stronger of the two sides in the second half, playing some lovely passing football.
Ten minutes into the second half Beth Lumsden has the best chance of the game. McLachlan brings the ball out of the defence from the left back area and moves the ball over to the right wing. A cross is deflected off the Wasps defender and finds Lumsden unmarked on the edge of the box, her first touch with the outside of her right foot ends up at Lynch’s feet and she collects the ball. A better option would have been for Lumsden to have taken the ball on her left foot and followed up with a quick shot, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Former Southampton and Lewes forward, Rachel Panting entered the action just after the hour mark but she was unable to make the impact that Oxford boss will have hoped for. This was mainly in part to some superb defending from Wasps. Any time that Oxford entered anywhere near to the box Wasps defending swarmed around them (pardon the pun) preventing any sight of Lynch’s goal.
In the sixty-eighth minute Wasps were able to make the breakthrough. Swaby put pressure on the Oxford defender Riva Casley who played the ball across goal, falling to the feet of Plewa. Where Lumsden failed to capitalise at one end, Plewa did not. The Welsh forward held off Cat Beaver and prodded the ball passed the oncoming Rose Kite.
Oxford’s heads did not drop and they searched for an equaliser but Wasps’ defence held firm and picked up the win that sends them third, six points behind Ipswich and Southampton.
Oxford United: Kite, Alexander, Beaver, Casley, Wallace, Haynes, Stevens, Baker, McLachlan, Johns, Lumsden.
Subs: Childerhouse, Ackerman, King, MacKenzie, Panting.
Crawley Wasps: Lynch, Cole, Gibson, Owen, Goodall, Nash, Russell, Palmer, Plewa, Sawby, Stephens.
Subs: Talbot-Smith, Jackson, Lancaster, Burt, Boylan.