Durham Women vs Watford Ladies

The FA are full of controversial ideas and the announcement they made about making the top-flight fully professional is another I disagree with. It’s all about funding and many clubs can’t afford to be fully professional. Yeovil Ladies have today started a Crowdfunder page looking to raise £350,000 to stay in the top-flight. They got there on merit and for me, it’s not right just to kick them out for not being professional. The same goes for Sunderland the likes of Bristol City. That means there aren’t going to be many clubs left in the top-flight and I believe there’ll be too many wanting to get in the second division. You’ll have all the current WSL2 teams (some like Durham are looking for funding to apply for the top-flight but it’s far from certain to happen) as well as three or four from WSL1 and the teams who will be promoted too. The whole thing looks like it could become a mess to me.

Match report:

Durham Women cruise to victory over Watford

Durham Women maintained their 100 per cent home record with a 4-0 win over Watford Ladies on Sunday afternoon.

Goals from Zoe Ness, Abi Cottam, Beth Hepple and Kathryn Hill gave the Wildcats a fine win which lifted them to third in WSL2.

Ness headed the Wildcats into a 39th minute lead and Cottam doubled the lead 10 minutes into the second half.

Hepple curled a free-kick home from a tight angle to seal the win and Hill’s 78th minute strike added gloss to the score-line.

Cottam was handed a start for the Wildcats, while Ellis Dalgliesh and Lauren Jordinson took spots on the bench.

The visitors started brightly and created a chance within the opening four minutes when Merrick Will’s clever ball founded Anneka Nuttall but her stabbed effort was well saved by Helen Alderson.

As Durham settled into the game, they started to create chances and only the post denied the Wildcats an opening goal in the 12th minute. Hepple’s corner found the towering Ness but her header crashed back off the post.

The woodwork came to Watford’s rescue again two minutes later in almost identical fashion. Just like the first, it was a Hepple corner which picked out Ness but her header this time hit the crossbar.

And, the woodwork was struck once again when Jordan Atkinson’s cross caught the wind to clip the top of the crossbar.

Despite Durham’s pressure, Watford were creating chances too. Alderson was forced into a clever save to prevent Lilli Maple before Nuttall’s 25-yard free-kick was destined for the bottom corner until Alderson pushed it to safety.

The visitors had the majority of possession in the next 10 minutes but there was little action in front of goal.

In the 39th minute, the Wildcats broke the deadlock. Atkinson’s good work found room to cross and her pin-point ball was headed home by a towering Ness.

Ten and a half minutes of injury time was played due to injuries to Meghan McKeag and Annabel Johnson but no real chances came and the Wildcats took a slender lead into the break.

Emily Roberts blazed well over early in the second half and Watford were struggling to get out of their own half.

In the 55th minute, Cottam doubled Durham’s lead. Sarah Wilson’s ball over the top picked out Ness and she superbly headed it down to Cottam who finished well from eight yards.

Another 10 minutes later, Hepple added Durham’s third. Nicki Gears won a free-kick in a wide position but despite the acute angle, Hepple managed to lift her free-kick over Kitching and into the far corner.

Rachel Lee then went close for the Wildcats before Hill added Durham’s fourth in the 78th minute. Watford failed to clear a corner and it fell to Hill at the back post who beat the ‘keeper at her near post.

Rinsola Babajide had a couple of efforts within the final few minutes but failed to find the net and the Wildcats bagged a clean sheet as well as the three points.

Full-time: Durham Women 4-0 Watford Ladies

Next up for me is Sunderland U23s vs Hertha BSC II on Tuesday night.

Durham Women: Alderson, Johnson (Lee, 45+7′), Wilson (c), Dixon, Hill, Hepple (Worthington, 72′), Atkinson, Roberts, Gears (Dalgliesh, 70′), Cottam, Ness

Unused subs: Jordinson, Christon, Briggs, Borthwick

Watford Ladies: Kitching, Neal, McCarthy, Jones, McKeag (Kerr, 45+5′), Nuttall (c), Maple (Walkley, 70′), Bragg, Petkova (Cudone, 63’), Babajide, Will

Unused subs: Baranowska, Bell, Murray, Sargent

Admission: £5 adults, £2 concessions

Programme: £2

Attendance: 487

Teamsheet: Free

Chips: £1.80

Can of Fanta: £1

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