Darlington RA vs Easington Colliery

Colliers cruise to comfortable win at Darlington RA

Easington Colliery collected a comfortable three points with a 4-1 win at Darlington RA on Saturday afternoon.

Shaun Smith collected a brace, while there was also goals for James Talbot and Jack Pounder.

Mark Sims had pulled one back for Darlington RA to make it 1-3, but Pounder’s 20th of the season ensured there would be no come back.

With several key players such as Ethan Wood, Brennan Ball and Michael Cooke missing, a rather depleted squad travelled to Darlington RA but they got the job done.

Smith and Ryan Lincoln Barrow both returned to the side while Ian Redman and Shane O’Brien formed a solid centre-back partnership.

Kyle Donaldson captained the side.

The Colliers asserted their authority straight from kick-off.

Redman headed a Talbot free-kick into the hands of Paul Griffith, before the Colliers took the lead in only the fifth minute. After David Vincent’s fine work played the ball out wide, the Darlington RA defence failed to deal with a cross and Smith was on hand to smash home from six yards.

Slack defending from the Colliers gifted Chris Tarn a chance in the seventh minute, but he could only drag well wide of Donaldson’s goal.

Pounder blazed over before numerous wide free-kicks for the Colliers came to nothing.

Talbot was seeing plenty of joy down the right wing, and he whipping some perfect crosses into the penalty area. Had the Colliers connected with his crosses, they could have been out of sight within the opening 20 minutes.

In the 34th minute, a great turn saw Smith find himself in on goal. However, not realising how much time he had, the tricky winger drilled an effort from an acute angle and Griffith saved.

Vincent then had a couple of efforts blocked, as did Lewis Green.

Having missed plenty of chances, Easington’s second in the 40th minute was thoroughly deserved. Vincent slotted a perfect ball into Smith, and he kept his cool to slot home for his brace.

The Colliers started the second half where they had left off in the first.

After Griffith had prevented Pounder, the Colliers added a third in the 48th minute. Talbot took responsibility of a 30-yard free-kick which he whipped into the penalty area. It bypassed everyone and picked out the far corner with Griffith unsighted.

Further saves from Griffith prevented Vincent and Smith, before the hosts pulled one back in the 55th minute. Jordan Hanratty beat the offside trap to burst down the wing and play a low ball across the face of goal. Sims latched onto it to fire behind Donaldson and give the RA a glimmer of hope.

However, three minutes later, the Colliers regained their three goal cushion. Poor defending from the hosts saw Aidan Goodey steal possession in a wide area. His low ball found Smith who helped it onto Pounder. Having been given half an inch of room, Pounder turned and curled an unstoppable effort into the far corner.

Knowing the points were secured, the Colliers seemed content to knock the ball about.

They were still creating chances though. Pounder forced another save from Griffith, before Smith had an effort blocked.

In the 82nd minute, Liam Adamson was played in and rounded the ‘keeper. But, he cut back and Griffith was able to push the ball behind for a corner.

Pounder and Talbot both went close to a fifth, but it counted for little as the Green Army ran out comfortable winners.

Full-time: Darlington RA 1-4 Easington Colliery

Next up for me is Durham Women vs Leicester City Women tomorrow.

Easington Colliery: Donaldson (c), Lincoln Barrow, Goundry, O’Brien, Redman, Vincent (Adamson, 67′), Talbot, Green, Shaun Smith, Pounder, Goodey

Unused subs: Appleby, Pearson, Brian Smith

Darlington RA: Griffith, Joynes (Hind, 63′), McLachlan, Harrison (Connor, 63′), Flounders, Guthrie (Hughes, 50’), Peel, Donaldson, Hanratty, Sims, Tarn

Unused subs: Lansdell, Duggan

Attendance: 47

Referee: Matthew Cain


Sunderland U23s vs Manchester City U23s

Having got to an unexpected game on Tuesday night at Jarrow Roofing, I fully expected to be at this game tonight. Before tonight though, I was at the darts at the Metro Radio Arena last night. It was the second time that I’ve seen the Premier League at Newcastle. Darts is definitely one of the most enjoyable sports to watch in person. The atmosphere created in the arena is electric. If someone offered me the chance to watch a Premier League match or a PDC darts competition, I would pick the darts every time. And, when you see as much quality as was on show in the Gary Anderson vs Michael van Gerwen game, it makes it even better. Seven perfect darts (two away from a nine darter) and a 170 checkout in the same leg is just incredible. For me, there aren’t many (if any) football games that are as enjoyable as a night at the darts. The only negative thing is the prices they charge in the Metro Radio Arena – £11.40 for a double pint!

Match report:

Man City U23s climb to eighth with Sunderland win

Manchester City under-23s climbed to eighth in Premier League 2 on Friday night with a 0-2 win at Sunderland.

First half goals from Rabbi Matondo and Ian Carlo Poveda proved to be enough for the young Citizens to take the three points.

On a cold night at Eppleton CW, Paddy McNair and Brendan Galloway both started for Sunderland with recent signing Connor Shields also in the starting XI.

Despite a positive start from Sunderland, Manchester City broke the deadlock with the first real chance in the 11th minute. Poveda burst down the wing before pulling the ball back to Lorenzo Gonzalez and he drilled it across the face of goal.

Having taken the lead, Manchester City began to dominate.

Half chances fell the way of Matondo and Javairo Dilrosun before the latter found himself with another chance. Having linked up with Tom Dele-Bashiru, Dilrosun was played in on goal, but a fine save from Max Stryjek prevented the Netherlands under-19 international.

However, moments later, City doubled their lead. Matonda’s trickery tortured the Sunderland defence and he weaved a way through before finding Dele-Bashiru. Dele-Bashiru’s 20-yard effort crashed back off the crossbar but Poveda was quickest to react to prod home the rebound.

Dilrosun forced Stryjek into a couple of further saves as the first half wore on, and Manchester City went into the break with a comfortable lead.

Despite not creating a great deal of chances, Sunderland looked brighter in the second half.

Having tested the visitors with a couple of early crosses into the penalty area, Sunderland’s Elliot Embleton played the ball out to McNair who drilled a low ball into the penalty area. However, goalkeeper Daniel Grimshaw collected with Shields baring down on him.

Substitute Benji Kimpioka had a great chance to half the deficit in the 65th minute but couldn’t beat Grimshaw, before Shields drilled narrowly wide from the edge of the penalty area.

Twenty minutes from time, Man City almost wrapped up the win. Poveda’s rapid pace saw him burst down the wing before pulling the ball back to Dilrosun on the edge of the penalty area. Dilrosun took aim, but his effort bounced off the crossbar.

Only two minutes later, the woodwork prevented Man City again. Tosin Adarabioyo teed up Marcus Wood, but his effort crashed off the underside of the crossbar before being cleared.

Despite City missing chances, Sunderland never really threatened to take the three points from their visitors.

Full-time: Sunderland U23s 0-2 Manchester City U23s

Next up for me is Darlington RA vs Easington Colliery tomorrow.

Sunderland U23s: Stryjek, Josh Robson, Hume, Gamble, Taylor, Galloway, Diamond (Mumba, 76′), McNair (Kimpioka, 62′), Shields, Embleton, Hackett (Connelly, 77′)

Unused subs: Patterson, Storey

Manchester City U23s: Grimshaw, Garcia, Adarabioyo, Latibeaudiere, Francis, Wood (Diallo, 89′), Matondo (Bolton 77′), Dele-Bashiru, Gonzalez, Dilrosun, Poveda (Duhaney, 87′)

Unused subs: Anderson, Kigbu

Admission: £3 adults, £1 concessions

Programme: No

Attendance: 235

Teamsheet: I don’t even bother asking for one now! They never have any.

Chips: £1.60

Referee: Paul Marsden

Jarrow Roofing vs Washington

Identical to last Tuesday, the plan tonight was Ryhope CW vs Ashington. Also identical to last Tuesday, that game was postponed. I wasn’t going to bother with a game tonight but a last-minute decision took me to Jarrow Roofing vs Washington. This was actually the third time I’ve seen these two play each other.  I’ve seen them play a league game and an Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup final at Hebburn Town on the 5th of May 2014. As I didn’t take many notes tonight, I’m going to do something which I’ll have to do for NCTJ exams – a match report consisting of around 250 words excluding a headline. That’s considerably shorter than mine normally are. After tonight, I’ll be at the Premier League Darts at Newcastle on Thursday night and I should be at Sunderland U23s vs Manchester City U23s at Eppleton CW on Friday night. To be honest, I was surprised this game went ahead. The referee didn’t seem best pleased by the pitch and he delayed kick-off by 20 minutes. There was a layer of frost on the pitch but credit must go to the referee for playing it.

Match report:

Washington hit for five at Jarrow Roofing

Jarrow Roofing eased their relegation fears with an emphatic 5-1 win over local rivals Washington on Tuesday night.

On a frost covered pitch, goals from David Palmer, Liam Anderson, Dennis Knight, Paul Gardiner and Olly Martin saw the Roofers climb to within two points of 19th-placed Penrith.

The two sides went into the break level with Washington’s Jake Pickard cancelling out Palmer’s opener but the hosts ran away it in the second half.

Despite Roofing the brighter, no clear-cut chances came in the opening quarter of an hour.

With the hosts becoming more creative, Anderson and Knight both tested Dan Gladstone but the former Durham City keeper held firm.

Roofing’s breakthrough came in the 23rd minute. A wide free-kick was worked to Anderson and he slotted the ball through to Palmer who finished with confidence.

Darting runs from Anderson and Lee Kerr provided Jarrow Roofing with further chances, but Knight and Palmer couldn’t convert.

In a rare attack for the visitors, Vinny Gash was played in on goal in the 28th minute but Shaun Newbrook made himself big and prevented the former Brandon United forward.

With just over 10 minutes of the first half remaining, Washington equalised. A clever passing move found Pickard on the edge of the penalty area and his effort took a wicked deflection to wrong-foot Newbrook and nestle into the net.

Despite Washington creating a couple of chances early in the second half, Roofing regained their lead through Anderson in the 66th minute. Kerr’s long-range effort was parried by Gladstone and Anderson was quickest to react to blast into the roof of the net.

Two minutes later, Roofing doubled their lead. With probably the pick of the goals, Knight worked his way across the edge of the penalty area before turning and drilling an unstoppable effort into the top corner.

Sixteen minutes from time, Roofing wrapped up the points. In similar fashion to their second, Martin’s original effort was saved but Gardiner was on hand to tuck home the rebound.

Roofing’s fifth with 10 minutes to play put a seal on an impressive night. A sharp break played Martin in and his finish gave Gladstone no chance.

Full-time: Jarrow Roofing 5-1 Washington

Well, maybe this report is a bit over 250 words (361 actually) but at least I know I can definitely do it when I need to!

Next up for me is Sunderland U23s vs Manchester City U23s on Friday night.

Jarrow Roofing: Newbrook, Martin, Walton, Marshall (c), Vipond, Kerr, Gardiner, Myers (Fisher, 78′), Knight, Anderson (Winn, 71′), Palmer (McArdle, 46′)

Unused subs: Varga, Campbell

Washington: Gladstone, Gibbon, Parker (Wood, 82′), Thompson, White (c), Mogwo (Hanson, 69′), Brown, Pickard, Wilson, Pickford, Gash

Unused subs: Allan, Akal, Greenwood

Admission: £6 adults, £4 concessions

Programme: None left

Attendance: 120

Hot dog: £1.50

Referee: Craig Dean

Durham Women vs Doncaster Rovers Belles

The fixtures in the WSL always seem to come in a block. The change to a winter season was meant to somewhat overcome that problem but it certainly hasn’t. Having not had a home game for almost three months before last weekend, Durham were playing their second of four home games within the space of 18 days today! With the move making the top-tier fully professional, it has made the remainder of this WSL2 season far from as competitive as it could be in my opinion. It’s been announced that only Brighton & Hove Albion Women are the only current WSL2 side who will be going full-time and that means there’s very little to play for at the top of the league. Doncaster and Millwall might battle it out to win the league but there’s no proper incentive to want to win the league.

Match report:

Doncaster Belles extend lead with hard-fought Durham win

Doncaster Rovers Belles extended their lead at the top of WSL2 to nine points with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Durham Women on Sunday afternoon.

In a game that could have went either way, the Belles came from behind with goals from Emily Simpkins and Jess Sigsworth.

Sarah Wilson had headed Durham into a 15th minute lead but Simpkins equalised just before the half hour mark.

Durham hit the crossbar twice, but it was Doncaster who took the points thanks to Sigsworth’s 60th minute strike.

Emily Roberts, Nicki Gears and Lauren Briggs all returned to the Durham starting XI, with Jordan Atkinson, Abi Cottam and Nicola Worthington having to be content with a place on the bench.

It was Doncaster who created the first chance of the game as Sophie Walton took responsibility of a 25-yard free-kick, but her drilled effort failed to find the target.

Despite failing to create any chances, Durham grew into the game and looked the brighter in the opening quarter of an hour.

With their first real chance, Durham broke the deadlock. Following good build up play, Gears’ fine work won a corner won the Wildcats a corner. Beth Hepple floated the corner into the penalty area to find Wilson and her bullet header gave Nicky Davies no chance.

Looking for an immediate response, Doncaster’s charged down on the Durham goal but her curling effort just say evaded the far corner.

Rather unconvincing defending gifted Durham a corner in the 21st minute. Zoe Ness rose to meet Hepple’s corner, but the Scotland international could only head over.

Following a short spell of pressure, the Belles pulled level in the 29th minute. Rebecca Rayner threaded a ball through to play Simpkins in and her confident finish beat the onrushing Helen Alderson.

Durham looked the brighter for the remainder of the first half. Hepple tested Davies with a stinger in the 35th minute, before Davies was forced into a superb save to tip Hepple’s long-range effort onto the crossbar.

Ness had a couple of efforts saved as the first half came to an end.

Had it not been for Davies in the Doncaster goal, Durham would have almost certainly gone into the break ahead.

Durham hit the crossbar for a second time less than a minute into the second half. Gears was played in and her lob had Davies beaten but bounced back off the crossbar.

Following a quiet 10 minutes, Rayner tested Alderson from long-range but it proved an easy save for the former Sunderland goalkeeper.

A sublime strike put the visitors ahead in the 61st minute. With the ball dropping on the edge of the penalty area, Sigsworth took aim. The former Notts County Ladies forward couldn’t have hoped for a better connection as her half volley dipped over Alderson and into the net.

Sigsworth could have collected her second in as many minutes seconds later but this time, she could only shoot wide.

Corners came at both ends, but neither side could create any chances from them.

In the 73rd minute, Durham almost pulled level through Worthington. Gears mounted a sharp counter attack and her low cross was dummied by Ness to find Worthington. The substitute took aim but could only drag wide.

Another chance fell the way of Worthington six minutes later. However, this time, Davies was able to save.

Cottam dragged wide with Durham’s last chance, and despite a fine effort, the Wildcats were beaten.

Full-time: Durham Women 1-2 Doncaster Rovers Belles

Next up for me is Ryhope CW vs Ashington on Tuesday night.

Durham Women: Alderson, Hill (Cottam, 83′), Wilson (c) (McCatty, 35′), Salicki, Johnson, Robson, Hepple (Worthington, 68′), Briggs, Roberts, Ness, Gears

Unused subs: Borthwick, Atkinson, Christon, Dalgliesh

Doncaster Rovers Belles: Davies, Newborough, Bradley-Auckland, Little, Pacheco, Tierney, Walton, Simpkins, Rayner, Hanson, Sigsworth

Subs (all unused): Davies, Cook, Whittle, Smith, Belding

Admission: £5 adults, £2 concessions

Attendance: 407

Programme: Sold out I presume

Chips: £2

Can of Coke: £1

Referee: Rebecca Welch

Horden CW vs Wolviston

The scheduled game for today was Blyth AFC vs Easington Colliery and I was quite surprised that it was called off. Not only that it was called off, but how early it was called off. We received an email at 16:30 yesterday saying that it was off due to a waterlogged pitch. There was standing water all over the pitch. Unlike last time when our game at Easington was called off on a Saturday, I didn’t fancy a trip anywhere today and I would have preferred an earlier kick-off. This game provided a perfect opportunity for that. Although I’ve watched them a few times, I’ve never seen Horden play in a competitive game. I watched them pre-season and now twice this season but it has been a mid-season friendly on both occasions.

Today’s game got underway with Horden looking the brighter. Half chances fell the way of Haydn Pace and Robbie Renwick before the latter had the ball in the net in the eighth minute. Jonny Payne’s superb ball over the top was worked into the penalty area where Renwick poked home but he was ruled offside.

Five minutes later, Pace was played in and attempted to lob Chris Davidson but the former Horden CW goalkeeper was able to save.

Halfway through the second half, Wolviston grew into the game and began to look dangerous. Despite looking dangerous and creating a couple of chances, they never really looked like breaking the deadlock.

In the 33rd minute, Horden almost broke the deadlock. After a cross had held up in the air, the ball dropped kindly to a Horden man whose first time effort would have certainly put the Durham Alliance outfit ahead had it been anywhere but straight at Davidson.

Four minutes later, at the other end, Wolviston went even closer to breaking the deadlock. A teasing corner was whipped into the penalty area where a Wolviston header was destined for the net until it was cleared off the line.

The two sides went into the break level but either could have been ahead.

Twelve minutes into the second half, Horden broke the deadlock. Renwick collected possession on the edge of the penalty area and took aim. His effort was saved by Davidson but the Wolviston ‘keeper could only push it up rather than out and it eventually dropped into the net.

Looking for an immediate response, Wolviston created numerous chances from a corner but Horden defended well and kept the Wearside League outfit at bay.

On a heavy pitch, chances continued to come at both ends with the best of the bunch falling to Renwick for Horden but he dragged a matter of inches wide.

Ten minutes from time, an inswinging Wolviston free-kick found their man totally unmarked at the back post but his cushioned volley bounced back off the crossbar.

However, the visitors were to pull level two minutes later. A corner was swung into the near post and Horden failed to clear meaning Tony Johnson stabbed home an equaliser.

Full-time: Horden CW 1-1 Wolviston

Next up for me is Durham Women vs Doncaster Rovers Belles tomorrow.

Admission: Free (donation to club)

Attendance: 22

Programme: No

Can of Coke: 50p

Gateshead vs Maidstone United

I had a few options of games tonight. Ryhope CW vs Ashington was the game that I had planned to go to and it would have been the game of choice had it not been postponed. Mind, I expected it to be called off. Thankfully, there was a few other games that I had as back ups. Billingham Town vs Jarrow FC was third choice but that fell victim of the weather to. That left either South Shields vs Ossett Town or Gateshead vs Maidstone United. I probably would have picked Gateshead even if South Shields hadn’t been postponed. Although I’m hoping to go to Redcar Athletic vs Middlesbrough U23s on Thursday, I probably won’t be able to get down there so this is likely to be my only game of this midweek. I’ll be at Blyth AFC vs Easington Colliery on Saturday and Durham Women vs Doncaster Rovers Belles on Sunday.

Match report:

Gateshead book FA Trophy quarter-final spot with Maidstone win

Gateshead booked a spot in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy on Tuesday night with a comfortable 3-0 win over Maidstone United.

Having played out a draw at Maidstone’s Gallagher Stadium on Saturday afternoon, the two sides met at a cold International Stadium where Gateshead claimed a comfortable victory.

After Maidstone had missed an early penalty, Neill Byrne’s close-range finish put Gateshead ahead in the 14th minute and second half goals from Paddy McLaughlin and Richard Peniket ensured the win for the Heed.

Gateshead manager Steve Watson made two changes from Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Maidstone with Peniket and Lewis McNall coming in for Danny Johnson and Jordan Burrow.

Things didn’t go to plan for Gateshead in the opening exchanges as they conceded a penalty in the 10th minute. Goalkeeper James Montgomery was judged to have fouled Seth Nana Twumasi and the referee pointed to the spot.

However, Montgomery made up for conceding the penalty by guessing correctly and saving Jamar Loza’s effort.

The penalty save would prove vital as Gateshead took the lead only four minutes later. Scott Barrow whipped a free-kick into the penalty area and it found a way through to Byrne at the back post who poked home to give the Heed the lead.

A quiet spell followed with both sides failing to create and clear-cut chances. Despite not having many chances, Maidstone looked dangerous on the break.

Seconds before the half hour mark, Montgomery was forced into a save. Loza took aim from the edge of the penalty area and his effort took a slight deflection but Montgomery produced a clever save.

Delano Sam-Yorke was next to test Montgomery but the Heed stopper produced another save.

Sam-Yorke tried his luck once again in the 39th minute but his effort failed to really test Montgomery.

Although the visitors had created a few half chances towards the back end of the first half, Gateshead went into the break looking comfortable.

McLaughlin almost doubled Gateshead’s lead less than two minutes into the second half. The former Grimsby Town man got on the end of Peniket’s teasing cross but he could only divert it narrowly wide.

Barrow fired over from long-range, before Sam-Yorke was once again denied by Montgomery at the other end.

A fine save from Lee Worgan denied Peniket’s deflected effort in the 58th minute, before Maidstone’s Jai Reason – who was constantly getting booed by the home fans – skewed well wide four minutes later.

With their lead only a narrow one, Gateshead doubled their advantage in the 72nd minute. Peniket’s perfectly weighted through ball played McLaughlin in and he finished with confidence.

Russell Penn fired not too far over from long-range as Gateshead look for a third.

However, the Heed still had to be alert at the back. Substitute Johan ter Horst drilled an effort towards the bottom corner but a fine save from Montgomery preserved his clean sheet.

Five minutes from time, Gateshead put the result beyond any doubt. Good strength from Peniket outmuscled two Maidstone defenders and the former Wales under-21 international kept his cool to beat Worgan.

The win books Gateshead a spot in the last eight of the FA Trophy where they’ll travel to Leyton Orient.

Full-time: Gateshead 3-0 Maidstone United

Next up for me is possibly Redcar Athletic vs Middlesbrough U23s on Thursday night.

Gateshead: Montgomery, Kerr, Byrne (c), Fyfield, Barrow (Williams, 82′), York, Penn, McLaughlin, Greenwood (Preston, 55′), Peniket, McNall (Burrow, 64′)

Unused subs: Johnson, Macleod

Maidstone United: Worgan, Hare, Okuonghae, Wynter, Nana Twumasi, Lewis (c), Reason, Anderson, Loza (Paxman, 58′), Sam-Yorke (ter Horst, 72′), Coker (Osei, 77′)

Unused subs: Capel, Muldoon

Admission: £15 adults, £8 concessions, £5 students/16/17-year-olds, £3 under-16s

Attendance: 338 (21 from Maidstone United)

Programme: Sold out

Teamsheet: 20p

Referee: Matthew Donohue


Durham Women vs Sheffield FC Ladies

It’s been a while since I last watched Durham Women. It’s been a while since they were last at home! It’s almost three months since they hosted London Bees at New Ferens Park. Having missed the Continental Cup tie against Sunderland as Easington Colliery were at home, I should be at every home game for the remainder of the season. And, I’m looking at possibly doing Doncaster Rovers Belles away too. This was one of two choices today but it was the obvious choice. The other game I could have done was Sunderland Ladies vs Brighouse Town Ladies but this game was much easier for me to get to and it was cheaper seeming as though I’ve got a season ticket! Mind, Sunderland finished 13-0 so I kind of wish I had gone there.

Match report:

Durham come from behind to book FA Women’s Cup last 16 spot

Durham Women came from behind to book a spot in the last 16 of the FA Women’s Cup on Sunday afternoon with a 2-1 win over Sheffield FC Ladies.

Melissa Johnson fired the visitors into a 48th minute lead but goals from Beth Hepple and Sarah Robson ensured the Wildcats would progress.

Helen Alderson made her 50th appearance for the Wildcats, while there was a place on the bench for Grace McCatty.

Durham started well and after a couple of half chances that were blocked, a Beth Hepple corner picked out Abi Cottam but she failed to guide her free header on target.

Cottam and Kathryn Hill both forced saves from Danielle Gibbons, before Rhema Lord-Mears dragged wide with Sheffield’s first opportunity.

In the 21st minute, Lord-Mears almost broke the deadlock. The former Manchester City youngster burst down the left before drilling a low effort across the face of goal but it just evaded the far corner.

A minute later, Durham thought they had taken the lead. Free-flowing football from the Wildcats saw Hepple find Hill and Cottam rifled home Hill’s cross only to be ruled offside.

In an end-to-end first half, Sheffield’s Sophie Jones played a quick one-two with Melissa Johnson but Alderson’s fine save prevented Jones.

Hepple forced a fine save from Gibbons with just shy of half an hour played, while Zoe Ness headed narrowly over two minutes later.

Durham had another goal ruled out for offside 10 minutes before the break. Jordan Atkinson wriggled a way through and dug out a shot which found the far corner but Robson was judged to have been interfering with play.

The second half wasn’t even three minutes old when Sheffield broke the deadlock. A corner was cleared as far as Emma Johnson and she drilled the ball back into the penalty area where Melissa Johnson’s poked effort found the bottom corner.

Durham responded well to falling behind with chances falling the way of both Ness and Cottam.

Seconds before the hour mark, Durham pulled level. Hill’s throw picked out Cottam and the West Bromwich Albion forward found room to find Ness. Ness took a touch before a delicate pass played in Hepple and she finished with confidence.

Only a minute after pulling level, Cottam almost put Durham ahead. Ness’ good work found herself on the byline and the Scotland international pulled the ball back to Cottam but her effort was saved by Gibbons.

A superb run by substitute Emily Roberts almost put the Wildcats ahead in the 69th minute. After beating numerous defenders, the former Doncaster Rovers Belles forward cut in before curling narrowly wide of the far corner.

Although Sheffield were looking dangerous, Durham deservedly took the lead in the 73rd minute. More good football from the Wildcats saw Roberts cross to find Hepple and her first time flick played Robson in and she finished well.

Five minutes later, Durham had a great chance to double their lead as Roberts was fouled by Katie Anderson in the penalty area. Hepple took responsibility of the resulting penalty but Gibbons pushed the ball to safety.

Anderson cleared a Robson effort off the line in the 83rd minute but Durham wouldn’t be left to rue on missed chances as they booked a spot in the last 16.

Full-time: Durham Women 2-1 Sheffield FC Ladies

Next up for me is probably Ryhope CW vs Ashington on Tuesday night.

Durham Women: Alderson, Hill (McCatty, 85′), Johnson, Salicki, Wilson (c), Robson, Worthington, Hepple, Cottam (Roberts, 65′), Ness, Atkinson (Dalgliesh, 56′)

Unused subs: Borthwick, Briggs

Sheffield FC Ladies: Gibbons, Jackson, McCue, Cox, Anderson, Emma Johnson (c), Jones, Melissa Johnson (Donoghue, 81′), Dixon (Hartley, 65′), Kemp, Lord-Mears

Admission: £5 adults, £2 concessions

Programme: 50p (including teamsheet)

Attendance: 244

Referee: Steve Lennon