Although it looked unlikely before the league restructuring, I have actually seen a couple of the newly promoted Championship teams before. Charlton and Leicester were both promoted and I have previously seen both of them at Durham in the FA Cup. Mind, I have never seen the likes of Lewes, Manchester United and Sheffield United. Today was slightly different to a normal Durham Women game for me. I was put in charge of doing a write-up for the FA as part of their Young Reporters Club. It won’t be a full match report, but will instead give a feeling to the club and ground as well. I’ll be writing it up later tonight, and it should be on the FA website tomorrow (Monday). With that, I had to enter the ground today via the main entrance rather than the turnstile. Although I’ve been to New Ferens Park probably 70 times, I’ve never actually been through the main entrance. It simply takes you to right next to the changing rooms, or up the stairs and into the main stand.
Durham and Charlton share points at New Ferens Park
Durham Women and Charlton Athletic Women shared the points in an entertaining 2-2 draw at New Ferens Park on Sunday afternoon.
Durham led twice through Beth Hepple and Emily Roberts, but Charlton equalised twice through Kit Graham and Amelia Ritchie.
Durham manager Lee Sanders made two changes from last week’s 3-3 draw with Liverpool as Ellie Christon and Hannah Reid came in for Abi Cottam and Megan Borthwick.
Despite early pressure and numerous corners from Durham, there was no real chances early on.
Graham poked Charlton’s first effort wide in the 15th minute, but other than that, little happened in the opening quarter of an hour.
In the 16th minute though, Charlton had a big chance to take the lead. Gemma Bryan pinched possession and decided to pass to Graham rather than going herself. Graham tried her luck with a first time effort, but it just say evaded the bottom corner.
Durham’s lead came courtesy of superb football in the 21st minute. Roberts picked out Zoe Ness whose cross was chested down by Abby Holmes to find Hepple. Hepple took aim with a drilled first time effort, and it flew into the bottom corner.
However, only a minute later, Charlton were level. Graham pinched possession from Becky Salicki in the penalty area, and she kept her cool to slot beyond Reid and into the net.
In an action packed three minutes, Durham regained their lead. Rachel Lee’s perfect ball played Roberts in, and the former Doncaster Rovers Belles forward slotted home for her third goal in two games.
Following a quiet spell, Durham almost added a third in the 37th minute. Hepple’s corner caused all sorts of havoc in the penalty area, and it eventually had to be cleared off the line.
Shortly before the break, Ellie Christon’s cross was well taken down by Ness. The Scotland international drilled a half volley towards goal, but a crucial block kept Ness at bay.
One more chance was to come before the break. Hepple tried her luck from 20 yards and her effort was destined for the top corner. However, a superb save from Katie Startup prevented Hepple of a brace.
It was a cagey start to the second half, with neither side really going close.
A chance did fall the way of the Durham in the 59th minute. Roberts’ fine work picked out Kathryn Hill whose cross picked out Holmes. Her effort was destined for the net, but Startup saved.
Charlton went close to equalising with 20 minutes to play as Liz Ejupi teed up Graham but her effort was tipped over by Reid.
Another good save from Reid prevented Lily Agg’s dangerous free-kick a minute later, before yet another Reid save prevented Ejupi’s header.
Ness fired wide as she looked to wrap the game up for Durham, before Reid was once again Durham’s saviour. This time, she pushed an Agg effort to safety.
However, Charlton were to deservedly pull level in the 84th minute. Charlotte Gurr’s deep cross found Ritchie, and her looping header dipped into the far corner.
Late chances fell the way of both sides. Nicki Gears had an effort crucially blocked by Ritchie, before Reid pushed a Gurr effort behind for a corner.
In the end, a draw was probably a fair result, and it sets both sides up nicely for the remainder of the season.
Full-time: Durham Women 2-2 Charlton Athletic Women
Next up for me is Ryhope CW vs Sunderland RCA on Tuesday night.
Durham Women: Reid, Hill, Christon, Salicki, Wilson (c), Robson, Lee (Briggs, 66′), Holmes (Gears, 66′), Hepple, Roberts, Ness (Knott, 85′)
Unused sub: Borthwick
Charlton Athletic Women: Startup, Kerr, Ritchie, Coombs (c), Bryan (Ejupi, 63′), Gurr, Stobbs, Graham, Nicol (Agg, 63′), Churchill (Clifford, 63′), Maple
Unused sub: Griffin
Admission: £5 adults, £2 concessions
Referee: Matthew Dicicco