Crawley Wasps scored three times in eight second-half minutes to defeat Oxford United 3-1 on Sunday and remain top of the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division.
Wasps had trailed to a Gemma Sims header shortly after the break but their response – inspired by the lively Faye Rabson – was swift, incisive and match-changing.
Not even the sending off of Wasps goalkeeper Frankie Gibbs late on could let Oxford back into the game.
The victory – their sixth in seven league games since promotion – keeps Wasps three points clear of Plymouth and five ahead of Cardiff in the third tier of women’s football.
Oxford started brightly, with Kayleigh Hines flashing a shot wide and Georgia Timms testing Gibbs, while at the other end Charlotte Owen twice went close and Tash Stephens shot straight at Oxford keeper Aimee Watson.
The goal the game needed came when Sims’ downward header from a corner put Oxford in front.
The lead lasted just six minutes, as Rabson was sent tumbling near the byline and Wasps captain Naomi Cole converted the resulting penalty.
Rabson then put the hosts in front, latching on to Owen’s threaded pass and keeping her cool to slide the ball past Watson.
Wasps extended their lead further when Darcey James nodded in Cole’s corner at the far post.
Gibbs was shown a red card after her outstretched hand caught Cheryl Williams in the face, with her replacement Lauren Graves making a good save from Georgia Clifford to keep Oxford at bay.
Wasps: Gibbs; Nash, Russell, James, Palmer; Cole, Stow (Drury 76); Ledezma-Viso (Fleischman 69), Owen, Rabson (Graves 81); Stephens. Subs not used: Young, Webber.