REPORT: Oxford 1-5 Durham

The Wildcats continued their fine start to the season with a comprehensive victory over Oxford United Women.

First half strikes from Sarah McFadden, Nicki Gears and Nat Gutteridge were added to after the break by a Beth Hepple brace to seal three points for Durham.

Victories over Sheffield FC and London Bees had propelled the Wildcats to the top of FA WSL 2, but the side were keen not to get ahead of themselves as they travelled south.

The visitors started brightly at the Northcourt, though, and took the lead with only two minutes on the clock.

After Oxford goalkeeper Demi Lambourne failed to hold Hepple’s corner, McFadden was able to sweep home from close range for her first goal for the club.

Durham doubled their lead only four minutes later when Gears burst down the right and finished well across Lambourne.

In what was a pulsating start to the game, Oxford pulled a goal back after 11 minutes when Nigerian international Ini Umotong forced her way through the backline and slotted past Helen Alderson.

The game calmed down after this point, with Gears twice denied by Lambourne as the Wildcats looked to extend their advantage.

And they were able to on the stroke of half-time as Rachel Lee hooked the ball into the area for Gutteridge to head home.

Oxford came out rejuvenated at the break, and only a fine save from Alderson denied Umotong a second after she had burst through on goal.

It was to be the Wildcats who seized the next goal, with Gears again the architect as she pulled the ball back for Hepple to roll home.

Hepple then added a second eight minutes from time as she beat Lambourne to the ball and lofted it into the net following a raking ball from Gutteridge.

Three points sees the Wildcats remain top of FA WSL 2 ahead of next weekend’s trip to Aston Villa.

Durham: Alderson, Macek (Jordinson), Wilson, McFadden (Eadon), Hepple, Gears, Gutteridge, Atkinson, Salicki, Christon, Lee

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