REPORT: Durham 1-1 Oxford United

Jordan Atkinson’s goal wasn’t enough for Durham Women as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Oxford United Ladies at New Ferens Park.

Atkinson put Durham in front midway through the half, but Durham were pegged back on the stroke of half time through a goal from Oxford substitute Imogen Lancaster.

Durham would have been hoping to bounce back from last weekend’s FA Cup defeat to Everton and started the game well.

Zoe Ness on the left played in Atkinson in the box, but the winger couldn’t connect with the ball with an air shot leading to an Oxford corner.

Ella Franklin-Fraiture could have put the visitors in front after 15 minutes, but she overran the ball and it went out for a goal kick. 

Ness was looking dangerous for Durham and had a couple of efforts to give the hosts the lead, but the first was straight at Demi Lambourne in the Oxford goal and the second just wide of her right-hand post.

Durham continued to attack and took a deserved lead in the 31st minute. Abi Cottam broke down the left-hand side and crossed for Beth Hepple, Hepple couldn’t connect with the ball, but Atkinson picked it up at the far post and stabbed the ball past Lambourne in to the bottom left corner.

The hosts could have made it two shortly after, Ness did well to hold the ball up just outside the box and managed to turn and get a shot away, but the Scotland international’s shot was turned around the post by Lambourne.

Beth Hepple then had the chance to double the hosts lead, but her shot from the right went just wide. 

Durham were made to pay for missed chances on the stroke of half time when the ball fell to Imogen Lancaster in the box who poked past Helen Alderson to bring Oxford level.

Durham were unable to bounce back quickly with the halftime whistle going, but the hosts started the second half on top, with Hepple and Lauren Briggs both firing just wide.

Oxford had the chance to take the lead on the hour after Sarah Robson brought down Taome Oliver on the corner of the box, but Danielle Carlton’s freekick floated wide.

Hepple came close to restoring Durham’s lead on 67 minutes after Emily Roberts was fouled on the edge of the box, but Hepple’s freekick was tipped over the bar by Lambourne. Roberts then came close from the resulting corner, but Lambourne again denied Durham.

Oxford were growing in to the game and nearly went ahead after 72 minutes, but Hannah Short’s curling shot went wide of Alderson’s post.

Both sides were going for a winner but struggling to create anything clear cut. Durham were doing most of the pressing with Oxford mainly hitting on the counter, but both sides were defended well and neither could find a winner.

Durham XI: Helen Alderson; Sarah Wilson ©, Sarah Robson, Beth Hepple, Zoe Ness, Jordan Atkinson (Nicki Gears 62’), Becky Salicki, Lauren Briggs, Abi Cottam (Emily Roberts 62’), Kathryn Hill, Rachel Lee

Unused subs: Megan Borthwick, Annabel Johnson, Grace McCatty, Ellie Christon, Jenny Bitzer

Oxford XI: Demi Lambourne ©; Corinne Yorston (Imogen Lancaster 7’), Riva Casley, Ella Franklin-Fraiture (Frankie Tilbury 90+3), Ellis Hillman, Ellie Noble, Emily Allen, Taome Oliver (Amber Roberts 90+1), Sophie Baker, Danielle Carlton, Hannah Short

Unused subs: Lucy Thomas

Attendance: 257

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