REPORT: Durham 2-1 Spurs

Durham Women enjoyed a positive start to the 2017/18 FA WSL season courtesy of a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur.

All three goals came in a frantic four minute spell at the end of the first half, with Beth Hepple hammering home from the edge of the area to open the scoring.

But the visitors were quickly level with Bianca Baptiste curling past Helen Alderson following a fine solo run.

Parity lasted for only two minutes, however, as Nicki Gears finished off a flowing attacking to seal victory for the Wildcats in first half injury time.

Lee Sanders handed a competitive debut to Kathryn Hill as Durham prepared to face a Tottenham side keen to prove themselves in their first ever FA WSL game.

And indeed it was Spurs who began brightly, with Sarah Wiltshire firing wide and Jenna Schillaci testing stopper Helen Alderson with a dipping free-kick.

Wiltshire had an even better chance moments later as she was played in by Baptiste, only for her eventual effort to lack power making it an easy save for Alderson.

The Wildcats were still threatening in spells though and had good chances through Hill and Jordan Atkinson, although neither could hit the target.

There were to be no more near-misses, however, as the Wildcats took the lead with their next attack.

A drilled cross was held up by Zoe Ness who eventually forced the ball to Hepple who fired past the helpless Toni-Anne Wayne from 18 yards out.

Durham’s celebrations had barely stopped when Baptiste pulled Spurs level – the tricky forward going on a fine solo run before cutting inside and curling an effort past the dive of Alderson.

An exciting spell was then to be topped off when the Wildcats seized the initiative once again only two minutes later as Gears slotted home from inside the box after Roberts teed her up.

The second half failed to continue on from the exciting end to the first period with chances few and far between, although Spurs thought they had grabbed an equaliser only five minutes after the break only for the offside flag to cut the celebrations short.

Roberts and Ness were then both denied by fine stops from Wayne after Gears had done well down the flanks to pick the pair out in the area as Durham pushed forward.

Substitute Abi Cottam then looked to have grabbed the elusive third goal only for her dinked shot to be cleared off the line by Renee Hector.

Alderson had to be alert late on to tip a long range effort from Hannah MacKenzie over the bar, but the Wildcats were able to see out the dying minutes and claim a hard-fought victory.

Durham: Alderson, Johnson, Wilson, Hepple, Ness (Worthington 83), Gears (Briggs 74), Atkinson (Cottam 66), Roberts, Dixon, Hill, Lee

Subs Not Used: Borthwick, Christon

Goals: Hepple (44), Gears (45+3)

Attendance: 617

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