REPORT: Durham 1-3 Everton

Beth Hepple’s stunning strike wasn’t enough for Durham as they were beaten by an impressive Everton side.

The Toffees raced into an early lead through Gabby George and Claudia Walker before Hepple’s long-range effort reduced the deficit before the break.

Despite a spirited second half display, the visitors wrapped up the victory late on as Lauren Davies found the back of the net.

Lee Sanders made a single change from the side that were beaten at Bristol a fortnight ago as Chloe Macek returned to the starting line-up.

It was Everton who started brightly, with loanee Rosella Ayane testing Helen Alderson as Andy Spence’s side enjoyed plenty of possession early on.

And they took advantage of their early dominance as they look the lead after 11 minutes – Gabby George reacting quickest to head home from close range after Michelle Hinnigan’s powerful shot had cannoned back off the bar.

Everton continued to press with Wildcats stopper Helen Alderson having to tip Krystle Johnston’s curler wide of her far post before Ellie Christon did well to muscle Ayane off the ball as she prepared to shoot.

The hosts were still having chances, though, with a looping effort from Hepple held by Levell and Emily Roberts firing just wide after she had broken into the area.

But any chance of a Durham comeback was dealt a blow after 26 minutes as Walker met Johnston’s cross at the back post and headed past Alderson.

There was almost a third moments later too, but captain Hinnigan could only glance her header wide of the far post.

With Everton building momentum, it was essential that Durham found some way to force their way back in to the game.

And so they did, with a moment of individual brilliance from Hepple as the England U20 international took aim from 30 yards before firing past Levell.

This gave Durham hope, and they began the second half positively with Nat Gutteridge just unable to connect with Ellie Christon’s teasing delivery.

But Everton were still looking dangerous and could have wrapped up the three points when Johnston broke through on goal – the ex-Sunderland winger seeing her driven effort come back off the post.

Alderson was being kept busy too, and she got down well to keep out an Ellie Stewart header before making a smart double save from Vicky Jones and Walker.

The visitors were able to find a third goal though, and it came in injury time as Davies fired home from long range to wrap up the three points.

Next up for Durham is a trip to Watford in three weeks’ time, where they will look to cement their place in the top four.

Durham: Alderson; Macek (Johnson 63), Wilson, Salicki, Christon; McFadden, Lee (Gibson 75), Hepple; Roberts, Atkinson, Gutteridge (Dodds 80)

Sub Not Used: Borthwick

Attendance: 399

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