As there’s not that many teams in the leagues, there are regularly big gaps between home games in women’s football. It feels quite a long time since I watched either Durham Women or Sunderland Ladies. The Women’s Championship as it’s now known is very different this season. Although I’ve love it to be a different side, I can’t see past Manchester United for winning the title. They’re a full-time professional outfit with a couple of England internationals in their squad. With that sort of profile, you’d think it’s a given that they would win the league. Hopefully, Durham will be just behind Man United, and the Wildcats are definitely capable of finishing that high. Having watched them a few weeks ago, I think Charlton Athletic will have a good season, and Tottenham don’t look a bad side either. I’ve not got a great deal of time tonight, so I’m going to stick to a shorter report.
Durham Women claim hard-fought win over Crystal Palace
Durham Women maintained their unbeaten start to the Women’s Championship campaign with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace Ladies at New Ferens Park on Sunday afternoon.
Emily Roberts put the Wildcats ahead in the 58th minute, and a late own goal wrapped up the win for Durham.
It was in truth a dominant display from the Wildcats, but they could be accused of being wasteful in front of goal.
Rachel Lee fired narrowly wide with Durham’s first chance, before Zoe Ness’ low ball across the face of goal was crucially intercepted to deny Abi Cottam.
A fine effort from Roberts just evaded the far corner in the 13th minute, before a couple of Durham corners came to nothing.
A quick counter from Durham saw Ness find Cottam with quarter of an hour played, but her effort just evaded the top corner.
Roberts had an effort saved by Shanell Salgado, before Kallie Balfour was denied by Hannah Reid at the other end.
Not long before the half hour mark, Hepple drilled narrowly wide, before Roberts went just as close seconds later.
It was all Durham in the first half and they should have went into the break two or three to the good.
Hepple, Ness and Lee all had further efforts go close in the first half, but they couldn’t find a breakthrough and it was level at the break.
Roberts’s half volley dipped wide early in the second half, before the former Doncaster Rovers Belles forward went close once again. However, a fine save from Salgado prevented her.
Durham’s breakthrough finally came in the 58th minute. Ness’ ball across was left by Lee to find Roberts and her first time curling effort found the far bottom corner.
A quiet spell followed the goal. The visitors were seeing more of the ball, but they never troubled Reid.
Both sides had a couple of corners, but that was about it until Durham’s lead was doubled in the 89th minute.
Sarah Wilson’s cross looked easy for the Palace defence, but a mix up saw Ciara Watling head past Salgado and into her own net.
Palace’s Jade Keogh went close in the 90th minute. Her 25 yard free-kick was on target, but a good save from Reid denied Keogh and ensured the Wildcats collected a third consecutive clean sheet.
Full-time: Durham Women 2-0 Crystal Palace Ladies
Next up for me is Sunderland RCA vs Sunderland U23s on Tuesday night.
Durham Women: Reid, Christon, Holmes (Greenwood, 90+3′), Wilson (c), Salicki, Robson, Lee, Hepple (Dixon, 90+2′), Roberts, Cottam, Ness (Knott, 90+2′)
Unused sub: Borthwick
Crystal Palace Ladies: Salgado, McRoberts (Watling, 76′), MacKenzie, Butler, Holdaway (c), Haydock, Nuttall (Keogh, 64′), Hincks, Burr, Nash (Georgiou, 64′), Balfour
Unused subs: Davenport, Chandler, Collins
Admission: £5 adults, £2 concessions
Referee: Adam Herczeg