Durham 0 Doncaster 0

A strong defensive and combative performance from Durham secured a deserved 0-0 draw against promotion pushers Doncaster Rovers Belles.

Having returned to league action after two consecutive defeats in the Continental Cup, Durham were strong from the start with Zoe Ness linking with Beth Jennings to pressurise the Doncaster defence.

For large periods of the first half the Wildcats were producing passages of play that saw them link passes together that almost allowed Jordan Atkinson to find a way through on goal.

It was down the right-hand side that Durham were having the most success and their first real chance of the game came in the 21st minute.

Fantastic work from Ness in the middle of the park saw the Scotland U19 create space to find Ellie Christon whose quick thinking released Atkinson.

Atkinson’s swinging right-foot cross was met by the head of Jennings which beat Nicola Hobbs before trickling just past the far post.

Durham settled into a rhythm where they continued to attack the away side as well as frustrating the away side defensively. Blocks right at the death from Caroline Dixon and Sarah Wilson kept the Belles at bay.

Five minutes before half-time, Doncaster upped the tempo with both Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Sue Smith notching efforts on goal.

Half-time and it was 0-0 between the two sides.

Doncaster came out fighting in the second half with Sweetman-Kirk threading her way through into the penalty area before being denied by the Durham defence.

But it was Durham who continued to press with Jess Round latching onto a loose Doncaster ball and was only thwarted by the on-rushing Hobbs.

The Wildcats best chance of the second-half came in the 68th minute when Beth Hepple followed up her deflected effort that went narrowly just over the bar.

There was an immediate response from Doncaster with Kasia Lipka producing an effort that saw Danielle Hill producing a fantastic save to tip the ball over the bar. Just moments later Millie Bright burst into the area only to be denied by Dixon when clean through on goal.

Despite Doncaster’s pressure, Durham continued to stick to their gameplan and almost opened the scoring when Jennings found Jen King whose powerful shot went agonisingly wide.

As the match entered it’s final moments, Jennings broke clean through on goal but her shot was straight at Hobbs.

It was the home side who had the final chances of the game through Atkinson and Ness, both going frustratingly wide before the final whistle went securing a thoroughly deserved point for the Wildcats.

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