Clinical Wildcats see off Oxford

Goals from Becky Beech, Amelia Pereira and Courtney Corrie handed Durham a first WSL2 victory of the season by beating Oxford United 3-0.

Beech latched onto Jordan Atkinson’s cross to poke home into an empty net and make it 1-0 with virtually the first chance of the game.

The visitors enjoyed long spells of possession but failed to beat Helen Alderson, who made two fantastic stops in as many minutes to keep Durham in front.

Pereira’s solo effort doubled the lead before Corrie finished proceedings off with a third in stoppage time. 

Manager Lee Sanders made three changes from the opening day defeat at Doncaster. Rachel Lee, Emily Scott and Jemma Purfield all made way for Vic Linsley, Lauren Jordinson and Jordan Atkinson. 

The Wildcats flew out of the blocks and scored with the first meaningful attack of the match after six minutes.

Beth Hepple’s defence-splitting run created space for Atkinson and her inch-perfect cross found Beech at the back post, with the ex-Hull striker making no mistake from two yards. 

Buoyed by her first goal for the club, Beech continued to press the home defence and her through ball just evaded Ellie Christon, with the advancing midfielder through on goal.

The visitors slowly grew into the game, pressing the Wildcats in their own half, but failed to muster many chances of note aside from Lindsey Pinker’s deflected shot.

But the home side continued to press and a fantastic piece of skill by Amelia Pereira carved out a chance, though her right-foot shot just sailed wide. 

Following spells of pressure without creating chances, Oxford went close twice shortly after the break.

First Pinker and then Kate Stanley both found space inside the Durham box, with the former dragging her shot past the post and Stanley finding the midriff of Helen Alderson between the sticks.

Clearly buoyed by a half-time team talk, the U’s continued to dominate but found Alderson in stunning form. First she denied Pinker from 20 yards before charging down Stanley’s effort a minute later as she closed in on an empty goal.

But the Wildcats always looked dangerous on the break and doubled their lead after 70 minutes. Christon found Pereira on the left and the Portuguese midfielder evaded a number of challenges before smashing into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

The second knocked the wind out of the visitors’ sails and they again wasted opportunities from good positions as Durham pressed for a third. 

It almost came through an ambitious Hepple free-kick. The midfielder set her sights on goal from 35 yards and crashed the woodwork, with Sarah Wilson’s follow-up header going over the bar.

It was to be 16-year-old Corrie who netted in stoppage time for her first senior goal, touching substitute Scott’s ball past Demi Lambourne and poking into an empty net.

Durham: Alderson; Jennings, Wilson, Nelson, Jordinson; Linsley (Scott, 70), Christon; Atkinson (Corrie, 58), Hepple, Perreira; Beech (Ross 90)

Subs not used: Moorhouse, Clark, White.

Oxford United (4-1-4-1): Lambourne; Bruce, Lane, Osborne-Ricketts, Chivers; Nutman; Stanley (Low, 70) , Hines, Pickett, Pinker (Allison, 66); Simmonds.

Subs not used: Cox, Jaadla, Walkett.

Bookings: Simmonds (36), Osborne-Ricketts (76) 

Attendance: 251

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