Millwall come unstuck against resurgent Oxford
Millwall Lionesses hopes of recording back-to-back wins were shattered when a first-half goal from Lauren Allison helped Oxford pick up their first home win of the WSL 2 season on Sunday.
The Lionesses went into the game brimming with confidence, having earned a morale-boosting home win over Watford three days before, but it was the home side that dominated the opening exchanges.
Ella Franklin-Fraiture went close to giving Oxford an early lead, narrowly failing to convert a Laura Low corner, before Lionesses keeper Sarah Quantrill pulled off an excellent save to keep out Kayleigh Hines' diving header from a corner.
It took the brilliance of keeper Quantrill to keep her team in the match, pushing Connor-Iommi's penalty over the bar after Franklin-Fraiture had been brought down in the box.
A similar set-piece led to Oxford's goal with Allison arriving at the back post to head home Jemma Connor-Iommi's corner on the half-hour.
Oxford went close to doubling their advantage early in the second-half but Allison just missed the target with another header and then Hines headed onto the crossbar from a Megan Alexander corner.
Another fine stop by Quantrill, this time to deny Allison in a one-on-one, prevented Oxford adding to their tally, with Allison first to the follow-up but hitting the post with her finish.
Millwall handed a debut to highly-rated young England youth international midfielder Grace Fisk with 20 minutes remaining, and the 16-year-old's introduction sparked the Lionesses' best spell of the game.
In fact, the visitors were unlucky not to steal a late point when fellow substitute Stevie Lamb tested the Oxford keeper from distance, only to see her speculative effort strike the top of the crossbar.
Speaking after the final whistle, Millwall manager Alberto Kurti was philosophical about the result, stating that he believes there is better to come once he has a fully fit squad to select from.
He said: "The credit goes to Oxford and we will take this on the chin.
"We didn't start too well, but didn't give up and in the second-half took the game to Oxford.
"There was plenty of quality and good individual play and we tried to get at their back-line, but they dealt with us comfortably in the first-half.
This was a good entertaining match and was always going to be a tough challenge.
"We deserved something out of the match, but a couple of close chances didn't go for us. I also thought that the penalty was a bit harsh. But all credit to the home side, who scored a good goal."
Oxford:Lambourne, Chivers, Connor-Iommi, Osborne-Ricketts, Alexander, Hines, Nutman (Pickett, 75mins), Franklin-Fraiture, Low (Pinker, 70mins), Stanley, Allison. Subs not used: King, Nichol, Marshall.
Millwall:Quantrill, Cowan, Davies, Cole, Strugnell, Sherwood (Ali, 72mins), Maple (Fisk, 70mins), Agg, Albert, Billson, Stenning (Lamb, 75mins). Subs not used: Wheeler, Mackie.