I think there are two teams in the WSL who I had never seen before today. One of them was Brighton & Hove Albion Women who are playing their first season in the WSL following promotion from the Women’s Premier League last season. The other, I think, is Arsenal Ladies. Every time Sunderland have played them, I’ve been in Greece! They play next weekend though at Sunderland so I should be there. Durham are playing a 12 next Sunday and then Sunderland at 2 so it is going to be another rush! With Easington’s season now over, I will probably have more variety in my games. The coming week is looking quite busy. Tomorrow, I’ll be at Wheatley Hill WMC vs Blackhill & Ebchester and on Tuesday I’ll probably be at Sunderland RCA vs Penrith although Spennymoor Town vs Nantwich Town is tempting. On Wednesday, I think I’ll be at the cup final at Seaham between Wheatley Hill WMC and Bishop Auckland Reserves.
Durham Women regain WSL2 top spot with victory over Brighton & Hove Albion Women
A single goal from Sarah Wilson was enough for Durham Women to defeat newcomers Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday afternoon.
Wilson headed the Wildcats into an 18th minute lead and despite numerous chances for the hosts, there was only one goal in it.
The three points lifts Durham to the top of WSL2, while Brighton remain eighth with six points from six games.
Durham manager Lee Sanders gave first starts of the season to both Nicki Gears and Caroline Dixon with Jordan Atkinson dropping to the bench and Nat Gutteridge out injured.
Regional Talent Club graduate Kirsten Donald took a spot on the bench alongside Development side players Hannah Greenwood and Meg Elliott.
Durham started well and narrowed Brighton to very few chances.
Gears stung the palms of Emma Byrne with an effort from 18 yards in the third minute while Dixon volleyed not far wide from long-range only a couple of minutes later.
The busy Byrne was forced into saves from Nicola Gibson and Zoe Ness as Durham continued to dominate while Brighton were struggling to get out of their own half.
The vocal Annabel Johnson was causing Brighton plenty of problems down the right, while Ellie Christon and Emily Roberts worked the Seagulls on the left.
A deserved breakthrough came in the 17th minute through Wilson’s corner. Johnson did well to win the corner and Beth Hepple’s pinpoint delivery found the unmarked Wilson who headed home.
Durham continued to boss the Seagulls with numerous balls into the penalty area from Gears and Christon causing problems for the Brighton defence.
Fine work from Ness saw the Scotland international weave a way through three Brighton defenders in the 28th minute but Byrne was equal to her eventual shot.
With their first half chance, Alessia Russo found Katie Natkiel but the Brighton forward came only fire a tame effort straight at Rachael Laws.
A second almost came for Durham seven minutes before half-time. Fine link up play from Ness ad Hepple gave the latter room to cross and it dropped to Gibson’s whose effort was blocked. Gears was quick to follow it up, but her effort was saved by Byrne.
Hepple and Ness both had further chances for the Wildcats who went into the break with a one goal lead after a dominant first half.
Brighton looked slightly better in the opening exchanges of the second half with Russo firing a couple of drives which were both blocked.
Brighton have the woodwork to thank for keeping the deficit at only one 17 minutes into the second half. Ness whipped a superb cross into the penalty area and Hepple’s first time effort had Byrne beaten but bounced back off the crossbar.
Another chance came 45 seconds later as Ness found room on the edge of the penalty area but her curling, dipping effort dropped narrowly over the crossbar.
Roberts was next to see a sight of the Brighton goal, but Byrne got down well to prevent the former Doncaster Rovers Belles winger.
Substitute Tyler Dodds made an immediate impact for the Wildcats as she trickled through in the 66th minute only for Byrne to save.superb football saw a quick one-two between Ness and Hepple open up the Brighton backline. Ness worked the ball on
Superb football from the hosts saw a quick one-two between Ness and Hepple open up the Brighton backline with 20 minutes to play. Ness worked the ball onto Roberts but once again, Byrne was Brighton’s saviour.
Kirsty Barton fired wide for the visitors after their first corner in the 71st minute while Russo also failed to find the target.
Ness went close again in the 77th minute before a rare burst forward from Becky Salicki saw the centre-back cover about 80 yards of ground before her cross-cum-shot was collected by Byrne.
Dodds and Gibson both fired over when they could have sealed the three points for the Wildcats.
It wouldn’t matter though as Durham claimed the three points which regains their spot at the top of the league.
Full-time: Durham Women 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion Women
Next up for me is Wheatley Hill WMC vs Blackhill & Ebchester tomorrow.
Durham Women: Laws, Johnson, Christon, Gibson, Salicki, Dixon, Wilson (c), Hepple, Ness, Gears (Dodds, 62′), Roberts
Unused subs: Borthwick, Briggs, Donald, Elliott, Greenwood, Atkinson
Brighton & Hove Albion Women: Byrne, Ritchie, Ashton-Jones, Rafferty, Perry (c), Dorey (Somes, 76′), Barton, Olding (Taylor, 60′), Russo, Thomas, Natkiel
Unused sub: Samain
Admission: £5 adults, £2 concessions
Referee: Lucy Oliver