MATCH REPORT: Oxford United 1 Crawley Wasps 3 (a.e.t.)

Sian Heather (left) netted at Oxford in extra time, forced by skipper Naomi Cole’s equaliser.

Crawley Wasps recorded their best result of an increasingly impressive season as they won 3-1 at higher-division Oxford United on Sunday to reach the third round of the FA Women’s National League Cup.

Despite numerous chances, Wasps had been within a whisker of elimination as they trailed 1-0 going into injury time, following Sophie Baker’s header early in the second half.

But Naomi Cole’s free kick drifted in to give the visitors a deserved equaliser, and Emma Plewa and Sian Heather both netted in extra time. It means Wasps have now won all 10 games this season.

Oxford – who sit mid table in the FA Women’s National League Premier South – were, on paper, Wasps’ biggest challenge since the Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup final against Lewes in March.

But Paul Walker’s in-form side were not overawed and created the first chance in the opening minutes, with Plewa stabbing wide at the far post from Heather’s cross.

Centre-backs Darcey James and Charlotte Young both had efforts saved by keeper Hannah Cox, before Wasps stopper Frankie Gibbs turned behind Flo Fyfe’s shot.

Faye Rabson and Heather then rolled shots past the post as Wasps continued to threaten before half time, and Rabson forced a good block from Cox just after the break.

But they were dealt a blow after failing to deal with a free kick and Baker’s looping header crept in.

Thales player of the match Young prevented a certain second with a goalline clearance, while at the other end Heather and Plewa both saw shots come back off the same upright.

Young then had a header of her own cleared off the line as it appeared Wasps would be frustrated – until Cole’s late, late free kick.

Then in extra time, Plewa’s shot took a deflection and wrong-footed Cox, before Heather eased the tension by snapping up the rebound after Rabson’s shot was saved.

Wasps: Gibbs; Niamh Stephenson, James, Young, Palmer; Drury (Fleischman 85), Cole; Rabson (Carter 111), Stow, Plewa (Davies 111); Heather. Sub not used: Graves.

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