OXFORD United Women manager Sam Rose says there is ‘a lot of work to do’ during pre-season after the club’s league campaign drew to a close.

The U’s finished their Southern Premier Division season with a 2-1 win at Cardiff City, thanks to a brace from leading scorer Zoe Barratt, taking her tally to 26 goals in all competitions.

The opener came after just nine minutes, when a quick throw-in caught out the home defence, leaving Barratt clear on goal, to fire off the underside of the crossbar.

Sarah King was denied a quickfire second, however the assistant referee flagged for offside.

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The second period began slowly, but the hosts gained momentum in the driving rain, and found an equaliser through Ruby Scahill’s long-range effort.

United regrouped though, and with seven minutes to go, retook the lead when Vitalia Budaieva’s shot was parried by Laura O’Sullivan, with Barratt quickest to react.

The U’s finished fifth in the league table, and as one season ends, Rose is already looking ahead to the next one.

He said: “We’ve got a lot of work to do, that’s still really clear. We want to improve and we need to be competing at the top end of the division.

“Ultimately we want to find our way into tier two. We can be pleased with how we’ve responded after a tricky run of results against the top three.

“That’s what sticks with me. We lost to Pompey, we lost to [Rugby] Borough, we lost to Hashtag [United], and that’s been the gap.

“We need to close that gap and make sure pre-season gives us an opportunity to improve on the pitch, the recruitment that we’re doing, and making sure we’re better prepared for next season to achieve what we want to achieve.”

Discussing the victory against Cardiff, Rose said: “It was good to win the game. I thought we played some good football in the first 15 to 20 minutes, and we deserved to be in front.

“We maybe lost our way a little bit either side of half-time, but we finished the game strong and managed to do enough to win, which was pleasing because it was a close game.

“Cardiff made it difficult and they’re good on the break. They’ve got some good ball carriers and some good players that can cause you problems when you turn the ball over.

“To win was really positive. If you don’t, you’ve got a long old summer to sit on it, so I’m pleased we’ve been able to do enough to win the game, and we can look forward to a break and then pre-season.”