Only three days and two training sessions since trials, OUWAFC Blues faced Birmingham University Women’s Seconds in their first game of the season. The two teams had faced each other last year in a cup tie, with the Blues advancing to the next round 4-2, despite a two-goal deficit at the half-time whistle. A repeat of last year’s heroics was not to be however, as after an unsteady start the Blues found themselves yet again two goals down by the end of the first half.
The Blues came out a changed team in the second half and, despite growing into the game and arguably playing the better football, they couldn’t repeat history with another comeback. Of particular note in the second half was the midfield combination of Ellana, Brigid and Rani, solid centre half Alice Nichols, and born again centre forward Ella Vickers Strutt, whilst fresher Rani Wermes came closest to spoiling Birmingham’s clean sheet with a tantalising effort that other referees may have judged to have gone over the line. Although disappointed not to have taken any points from the game, the dominant second half midfield performance, and the quality displayed by this year’s freshers, mean the Blues will be confident going into next week’s game against Cambridge.
Meanwhile, the OUWAFC Furies faced recently promoted Lincoln. Despite a limited pre-season, and a couple of team members having run a half-marathon just 3 days before, the Furies quickly went 2-0 up thanks to goals from Juliette Westbrook and this year’s captain Rebecca North. Lincoln appeared to be mounting a comeback, scoring two goals, but another goal each from Juliette and Rebecca saw the Furies end the half in a dominant position 4-2 up. The second half was again controlled by the Furies, featuring a goal from newbie Martha Comerford as a product of some build up play that Barcelona would have been proud of, and an absolute screamer from centre-back Charlotte Rougier.
A 6-2 victory leaves the Furies in a good shape to tackle the rest of the season, as captain Rebecca North told Cherwell: “I’m extremely happy with the dominant performance from the Furies in our first match of the season. I thought that we gelled well as a team and the new players settled into their roles seamlessly.
“I am very much looking forward to building on this success in our next match against the University of Northampton and continuing to develop the squad dynamics for the upcoming season.”