Durham Women held FA WSL 1 side Liverpool to a goalless draw in the Continental Tyres Cup.
WSL1 side Liverpool brought a team full of international experience to New Ferens Park and had more of the ball, but couldn’t create many clear-cut chances as Durham limited the Merseyside club to shots from long range.
The visitors started brightly, with Ashley Hodson shooting from a tight angle, but it was straight at Helen Alderson who parried the ball to Natasha Harding, but the Liverpool striker fired over.
Durham could have taken the lead after 10 minutes when a good ball from Emily Roberts saw Beth Hepple break into the box, but her shot was tame and easy for Siobhan Chamberlain in the Liverpool goal.
Liverpool went straight down the other end with Harding going one-on-one with Alderson, who forced her wide and cleared the danger.
Gemma Bonner then nearly headed Liverpool in front, but her header from Alex Greenwood’s cross went just wide of Alderson’s left hand post.
Alderson remained the busier of the two keepers, doing well to keep out a Caroline Weir shot from 25 yards.
The hosts could have taken the lead on 27 minutes after good build up play from Hepple and Zoe Ness teed up Nicki Gears inside the box, but her effort fired just wide of the far post.
Liverpool finished the half the brighter, but had nothing to show for it apart from a rising corner count.
Greenwood tried to change that on the stroke of half time, but her 30-yard effort fizzed just wide.
The full-back’s left foot was proving a constant threat and this continued into the second half.
Her 53rd minute cross just needed a touch, from anyone, and it would probably have gone in and moments later she hit the bar with an effort from 25 yards out.
Liverpool had another good chance on the hour when Rachel Lee brought down Bethany England on the edge of the box, but Alderson pulled off a good save from Weir’s freekick. England then had a good chance herself, but fired over from close range.
Greenwood then tried her luck from range again with a freekick from 30 yards out, but Alderson got down well to tip it wide.
Durham were still creating the occasional opening and had a chance in the 70th minute as Ness was brought down just outside the box – Hepple’s free-kick headed away by Bonner.
Liverpool continued to shoot from range, with Weir, Coombes and Greenwood all taking aim without success.
Coombes then played in Charles on the right, but Alderson got down well to prevent Liverpool from taking the lead after the winger had burst into the area and got her shot away.
Liverpool brought on England International Jess Clarke for the last 10 minutes and she was immediately involved with a shot from the edge of the box, but it was easily dealt with by Alderson.
Clarke’s involvement didn’t last long as she left the field through injury in the 84th minute. Her team mates managed one last chance to win the game, but Charles’ effort was well saved by Alderson as the Wildcats held on to earn a point.
Having earned a point, Durham had the chance to make it two from the penalty shootout.
But after eight rounds and goals from Hill, Wilson, Worthington and Atkinson, alongside three saves from Alderson, it wasn’t enough as Liverpool’s Weir scored the deciding penalty as the Reds won 5-4 to take the bonus point.
By Rory Drake
Durham XI: Helen Alderson; Ellie Christon, Sarah Wilson ©, Kathryn Hill, Annabel Johnson; Lauren Briggs, Rachel Lee (Abi Cottam 66’); Emily Roberts (Nicola Worthington 66’), Beth Hepple, Nicki Gears; Zoe Ness (Jordan Atkinson 81’)
Unused Subs: Jen Jennings, Megan Borthwick