Oxford United 0-2 Birmingham City Ladies
Continental Tyres League Cup
A GOAL in either half by Andrine Hegerberg and Mel Lawley earned Birmingham City Ladies a place in the quarter-final of the Continental Tyres League Cup, although they did make hard work of their Super League Two opponents.
David Parker’s side were eager not to follow in Chelsea’s footsteps out of the tournament and the Blues team reflected this with a strong outfit involving recent signings Isabelle Linden and Andrine Hegerberg taking to the field at The Northcourt.
German striker Linden had an early penalty appeal turned down before home goalkeeper Demi Lambourne was quick off her line to deny Linden on 13 minutes.
The visitors continued to dominate proceedings and came close again to taking the lead on 22 minutes when again Linden came close but her lob went over the bar.
New recruit Andrine Hegerberg was pulling the strings in midfield and she almost put the Blues ahead after getting on the end of a Jess Carter pass but her effort on goal was well blocked on the line by Laura Rafferty.
Oxford slowly began to find their feet as the first half progressed but they failed to trouble Sophie Baggaley in the Blues goal.
A mistake at the back by the hosts almost led to the opening goal of the match but Lambourne was alert to deny Linden in front of goal however the deadlock was finally broken ten minutes before the break.
Linden was brought down inside the area and Hegerberg made no mistake from the spot by firing the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Freda Ayisi could have made it 2-0 shortly before half-time but she shot straight at Lambourne after breaking free into the box and Lawley tested the Oxford goalkeeper with a powerful 25-yard shot which Lamburne getting down well to make the stop.
After the break the visitors continued to control the match but they could only extend their lead by just the one goal in the second period.
Ayisi tried her luck from 20 yards out but her curling shot sailed narrowly wide of the target and on 52 minutes Hegerberg thought she had scored a brace but again her effort was wide of the mark.
Oxford had chances themselves to cause an upset and Baggaley had to be alert to deny the dangerous Inu Umotong after she out-paced Emily Westwood, with the Blues goalkeeper producing a full stretch save.
The visitors pressed for a second with Hegerberg again firing wide and Lawley shot a well-worked free kick inches wide.
Oxford almost pulled level ten minutes from time when Umotong again used her pace to get away from the Blues defence and after beating Baggaley, she looked on agony as her right-footed shot drifted inches wide.
But the result was put beyond doubt on 83 minutes when winger Lawley played a neat one-two on the edge of the box before beating Lamboure with a low finish.
The visitors pushed for a third goal with Kerys Harrop and substitute Charlie Wellings seeing close range efforts whistle over the bar but they were unable to add to their two-goal tally.
Team: Baggaley, Windell (Peplow (75), Carter, Harrop, Mannion, Stringer, Westwood, Lawley (Haines 84), Hegerberg, Ayisi, Linden (Wellings (61)
Subs not used – Scofield, Brown, Johnson.