Durham Women vs Aston Villa Ladies

With the end of the season approaching, I’ll just be getting to games when and where possible. This game was originally scheduled for December but was postponed due to the weather. Being rearranged for tonight was quite handy actually as there was very little else on. The Cumberland Cup final was being played at Carlisle but I would never have travelled all the way over there for that! This was my 133rd game of the season which puts me 39 behind where I was at this point last season. I know I have done a few games less this season, but it certainly doesn’t feel as though I’ve been to 39 fewer games! I’m probably going to be looking to finish the season on around 143.

Match report:

Durham Women take three points at home to Aston Villa

Durham Women claimed a 3-0 win over Aston Villa Ladies at New Ferens Park on Tuesday night.

Beth Hepple opened the scoring in her 100th appearance for the Wildcats, before second half goals from Zoe Ness and Jordan Atkinson made sure of Durham’s win.

The scoreline was, in truth, harsh on Villa who looked the brighter side for much of the second half.

Durham manager Lee Sanders opted to start with Nicki Gears, while there was also a place for Rachel Lee to make her 50th Durham appearance.

Following a quiet opening, it was Aston Villa who created the first half chance. Beth Merrick whipped a free-kick into the penalty area to find Elizabeta Ejupi but her looping header was saved by Helen Alderson.

Two minutes later, the visitors created another chance after Tash Baptiste was fouled on the edge of the penalty area. Merrick’s original effort his the wall, and her rebound blazed wide.

Baptiste headed over for the visitors, before Durham’s first chance led to them taking the lead. An awkward ball came into the Villa penalty area and Gears gave chase. She got there before ‘keeper Aja Aguirre who brought her down in the process giving the referee no option but to point to the penalty spot. Hepple took responsibility and confidently slotted the ball home to put the Wildcats ahead.

Only a minute later, Hepple almost added a second. Taking aim from 25 yards, her effort darted narrowly over the crossbar.

Fine football created another chance for Durham in the 22nd minute. Gear worked it out to Hepple who in turn found Ness. The Scotland international found herself 12 yards from goal, but she couldn’t keep her shot down.

Baptiste then forced a save from Alderson with a header, before Jade Richards’ header came to the same fate.

As half-time approached, Ness played Emily Roberts in. The former Doncaster Belles winger burst down on goal but Aguirre made herself big to save.

Following the break, Villa were almost level in fortunate fashion in the 50th minute. A Baptiste effort from the edge of the penalty are took a wicked deflection to wrong foot Alderson. Thankfully for Durham, the looping ball bounced back off the crossbar.

Aguirre saved from Roberts in the 57th minute, before Hepple fired over a minute later.

A superb save from Alderson kept Durham ahead 20 minutes into the second half. Ejupi’s 20 yard effort was destined for the top corner, but a fine save from Alderson at full stretch pushed the ball behind for a corner.

Another Alderson save prevented Ejupi five minutes later, and the visitors would be left to rue on missed chances as Durham doubled their lead in the 71st minute. A simple ball over the top looked simple for the Villa defence. But, Ness gambled and rightly so as the ball found a way through to her before she slotted home.

Inside the final quarter of an hour, Hepple fired wide of Aguirre’s goal, before Ejupi skewed wide at the other end.

Only a minute after coming on as a sub, Atkinson made sure of the three points for Durham. A quick move saw Gears find Hill and her first time pass played Atkinson in. Keeping her composure, Atkinson slotted home.

Full-time: Durham Women 3-0 Aston Villa Ladies

Next up for me is Hartlepool FC vs Sunderland West End tomorrow.

Durham Women: Alderson, Johnson, Hill, Wilson (c), Salicki, Lee, Robson (Briggs, 65′), Hepple (Atkinson, 85′), Roberts (Cottam, 75′), Ness, Gears

Unused sub: Borthwick

Aston Villa Ladies: Aguirre, Jones (c), N’Dow, Richards (Warner, 46′), Merrick (Crackle, 81′), Hurley, West, Hassall, Hutton, Baptiste, Ejupi

Admission: £5 adults, £2 concessions

Programme: £2

Attendance: 173

Chips: £2

Referee: Helen Byrne

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