LIAM Gilbert was delighted as Oxford United made a winning start to their FA Women’s National League season.

Carly Johns’ finish at the back post 11 minutes into the second half was the only goal of the Southern Premier Division game at Gillingham.

It was the U’s first competitive outing for almost 200 days and Gilbert was pleased with the display.

He said: “It’s always nice to start the season with three points and a clean sheet, so we would have taken that at the start of the day.

“It was a good test and it was good to see us hold out.

“I don’t think we were tremendously troubled at times, but we looked strong, we looked compact and we looked organised, which was good.”

Taome Oliver came closest to breaking the deadlock before the break when her run saw the Gillingham goalkeeper booked for handling outside the box.

The U’s could not convert the free-kick and then saw a penalty shout turned down when Oliver went to ground in the box early in the second half.

Johns took her chance, but the visitors needed a crucial block by Emily Wallace late on to preserve the lead.

Wallace said: “I just had to block it, there was nothing else I could do I don’t think, just to get contact.”

United are next in action at Watford on Sunday.

Oxford Utd: Kite, Wallace, Sims, Haynes, Beaver, Oliver, Johns (Peters 72), Allen, Stevens (Brown 77), Bensted (Mackenzie 89), Hayes

Unused subs: Sercombe, Baker