Controversial defeat for Golden Girls as Oxford United strike late double blow

Match action from Watford Ladies' controversial defeat to Oxford United. Picture (c) AW Images (AWimages.co.uk)
Match action from Watford Ladies' controversial defeat to Oxford United. Picture (c) AW Images (AWimages.co.uk)

Watford Ladies were unlucky in defeat against Oxford United, losing 3-2 in a match that was full of talking points and big decisions.

Having gone into the break behind to a Sahara Osborne-Ricketts header, the Golden Girls responded brilliantly in the second half and took the lead after Kim Farrow and Ellie Mason had got on the scoresheet.

John Salomon was full of praise for young goalkeeper Deger Zekai. Picture (c) AW Images (AWimages.co.uk)

John Salomon was full of praise for young goalkeeper Deger Zekai. Picture (c) AW Images (AWimages.co.uk)

With only seven minutes remaining, Katie Stanley levelled things up - although there appeared to be a foul on Watford keeper Deger Zekai.

Shortly afterwards it was deja vu as Destiney Toussaint grabbed the winner. It looked almost certain that there was an offence committed in the six yard box, however the goal was allowed to stand, cruelly denying the Lady Hornets a much deserved result.

With a third of the game gone, there had been very little in the way of opportunities on target. Holly Pickett was the first to seriously test either keeper, her shot was heading towards the corner but Zekai got across really well and pushed it around the post.

It seemed for all the world that it would be goalless at half-time, however with less than 10 minutes to go, the visitors struck. A corner was headed on a couple of times before Osborne-Ricketts got the final touch to put Oxford one up.

Watford came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and were rewarded with an equaliser. Farrow finally got her first competitive goal and it was worth the wait. Out wide on the left hand side, she tried her luck and it arrowed into the top corner, deceiving Demi Lambourne in goal to make it 1-1.

Momentum had shifted. Stacie Donnelly broke into the area and went down after contact; no penalty was given in the first key decision of the afternoon. Another soon followed as Oxford’s Laura Nichol appeared to have been tripped in the penalty box but again, the referee waved play on.

Having come on as a substitute, Mason was causing plenty of problems, which eventually led to a well-earned goal. The forward brilliantly got away from her marker before firing an effort low and hard into the net, putting Watford 2-1 up.

On her first start for Watford, 18-year-old Zekai hadn’t put a foot wrong and there could be no blame when the U’s equalised on 83 minutes.

It was another big decision for the referee. Stanley sent a lob high and goalwards, it looked like Zekai would deal with it, however pressure from Lauren Allison meant it found its way in. Remarkably, no foul was given and the goal stood.

With the equaliser allowed to stand, it was no surprise when Oxford tried something similar just over a minute later. It paid off, with Toussaint forcing the winner home.