by Callum Ellis
UNIVERSITY of South Wales 1st booked their place in the last 16 of the BUCS Trophy with a 2-1 victory over Oxford University 1st.
Goals from Danny Dageenakis and Aimee Smith saw Kaseem Taylor’s side stretch their unbeaten run to four games.
An eventful opening saw both teams enjoy a fair share of chances, but it was USW who opened the scoring through an unlikely sourced in defender Dageenakis.
Star striker Lucy McDonough earned the visitors their first corner of the afternoon. Chelsea Cochrane delivered the resulting set-piece and found Degeenakis, who volleyed beyond the Oxford goalkeeper to gift her side a dream start.
But it took only five minutes for the home side to hit back. Oxford No. 7’s effort from distance evaded USW ‘keeper Megan Wordingham and found the back of the net to draw Oxford level.
Ellie Burgess went close to restoring USW’s lead as she advanced forward before clipping an effort just over the crossbar.
Maria Hakonsen was also unlucky not to get on the scoresheet with four minutes remaining of the first half. Cochrane’s pin-point corner again found a red shirt, but Hakonsen saw her header rebound off the crossbar before the home side cleared the danger.
There was still time for McDonough to try her luck before the interval. She raced through on goal before being clattered by the advancing Oxford goalkeeper, who did just enough to deny her. McDonough and her team-mates appealed for a penalty but their protests were waved away by the referee.
The first chance of the second half fell in favour of the visitors as Cochrane found space on the edge of the area before firing over the target.
USW enjoyed a more positive second half as Llio Roberts and McDonough both went close to putting their side back in control.
While captain Ffion Llewellyn tested the Oxford goalkeeper from distance, but was unable to generate enough power to beat the shot-stopper.
The visitors finally got the goal their second half performance had warranted when Smith restored their lead. A piece of individual brilliance from McDonough saw her get in between Oxford’s defence before finding Smith, who kept her composure to slot the ball into the corner of the net.
USW now progress through to the last 16 of the competition, but manager Taylor says his focus remains on their league position.
Speaking after the game, he said: “For us, the league is a priority. But every game that comes along, we want to win it because it’s good for our momentum.”
Taylor’s side return to league action next Wednesday when they welcome leaders Bournemouth University to the USW Sport Park.
(Images Callum Ellis)