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Oxford City won a fiercely contested Oxfordshire FA Cup Final on Sunday, beating their Oxford Utd rivals 2-0 at Witney on Sunday evening.
A large and partisan crowd gave the match a real edge and the outcome was in doubt until late in the second half. City are in a higher league than United but there was little to choose between the teams throughout and it took two classic pieces of opportunist finishing to settle the encounter.
The pitch was very hard and bouncy and both teams struggled to find any measure of control as the ball spent a majority of the opening half in the air. Both defences looked very strong and constructive moves were few and far between. Neither defence had been seriously troubled and neither keeper had made a save in the first 35 minutes.
A moment of high quality suddenly lit up the game as City's West hit an powerful 30-yard shot destined for the top corner until Ellen Hopkins launched herself to tip the ball round the post, an excellent save from the U's keeper.
Both managers did a great job at the break as both teams re-emerged with the intention of keeping the ball on the floor and building passing movements from the back. The record crowd were treated to a fine display by both teams, with United pressing City back for long periods without ever finding an opening to test Hannah Cox, mainly due to good defence from the whole back four. City were dangerous on the break, with Steph Mobbs and Hannah Smye using their pace to good effect.
It was Mobbs who broke the deadlock on 74 minutes with a fine near post header from a right wing cross. Smye doubled the lead four minutes later, robbing a defender and crashing the ball into the roof of the net from close in. United continued to press forward impressively and forced Cox into two fine saves as the game went into injury time.
Both sets of players had done their club, city and county proud and deservedly received loud applause as they stepped up to accept their medals and Lauren Carnell lifted the Cup. After settling slowly into the match, all the players had adapted well to the big occasion and the difficult conditions and produced an entertaining and very competitive contest played with a good sporting spirit.
Oxford City: Hannah Cox, Abi Smith, Heidi Bates, Louise Craig, Lauren Carnell, Zoe Hill, Michelle Robinson, Steph Mobbs, Hannah Smye, Tasha Collins, Felicity West. Subs: Claire Bates, Emma Kidd, Emily Wilson, Rosa Sommers, Lou Lloyd.
Oxford Utd: Ellen Hopkins, Nell Boxall, Gina Ianiello, Amy Chivers, Fran Preston, Danielle Anderson, Holly Pickett, Stacey Coles, Nicola Bishop, Claire Marsh, Lauren May. Subs: Jane Younger, Kath Boardman, Emily Moore, Charlotte Canley, Georgie Currie.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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