Goals from Abbey Joice, Beth Mead and a Durham own goal was enough for Durham to lose their first fixture in the FA WSL Continental Cup against Sunderland Ladies.
Joice opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time when she lobbed Danielle Hill before Mead doubled their score early in the second half before a late own goal from Lauren Jordinson sealed the victory and gave Sunderland their second victory in a North East derby between the two sides.
Durham started brightly and had their best chance of taking the lead in the ninth minute when Beth Hepple evaded the challenge of two Sunderland defenders before playing a ball through their defence through to Crooks.
Crooks had beaten the offside trap and passed the ball to ness to Ness before the Scotland U19 international pulled it back only for Jess Round to shoot over.
Sunderland staked their claim for the first goal and Steph Bannon’s powerful header from a corner rocketed the crossbar. The home side continued to press Durham and Beth Mead was denied by a fantastic save from Danielle Hill.
It was Sunderland who began to dominate possession, with Kiera Ramshaw capitalising on a Durham error before her shot was cleared.
The Durham defence were standing strong and it was Lauren Jordinson who seemed to be there each time to deny the home side.
The Wildcats looked dangerous on the break and Ness’ ball over the top saw Hepple clear through on goal but Helen Alderson was out quickly to deny the visitors.
Another fantastic save from Hill saw her deny Vicki Greenwell freekick effort and it was the former Everton shot stopper’s hand that pushed it over the bar.
But just before the first half ended the deadlock was broken and it was Sunderland who scored thanks to a long ball forward from Bannon that Abbey Joice let bounce before lobbing Hill.
Half-time and it was 1-0 to Sunderland.
The home side doubled their advantage five minutes into the second half when Mead slotted past Hill after latching on to Kelly McDougall’s header forward.
From there the Lady Black Cats dictated the play, creating a string of chances that tested Hill and her defence but the home side were unable to increase their lead.
Durham won a dangerous freekick in the 67th minute, which saw Hepple swing the ball into the box. Alderson pushed the ball out to Ness who’s resulting shot was blocked.
Sunderland won themselves a freekick in a dangerous position after Beth Jennings tripped Mead on the edge of the area but Greenwell’s freekick was not enough to trouble Hill in the Durham goal.
The third goal of the match came deep into the fourth minute of injury time when Jordinson headed into the back of her own net to seal Sunderland’s victory.