REPORT: Durham 2-1 Sheffield

Durham progressed to the Fifth round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup coming from behind to beat Sheffield FC.

Sheffield took the lead early in the second half through Melissa Johnson but were pegged back soon after by Beth Hepple.

Sarah Robson put Durham in front midway through the second half and the hosts had the chance to make it 3-1 from 12 yards, but Hepple’s penalty was saved by Gibbons in the Sheffield goal.

Durham started the game on the front foot with Hepple heading just over the bar, before Abi Cottam saw a shot go straight at Gibbons.

Sheffield then started to grow in to the game, with Rhema Lord-Mears causing problems for Durham. Her effort on 14 minutes was well wide of the goal, but she came closer a few moments later going down the left-hand side and dragging an effort in front of Helen Alderson’s goal.

The game was end to end, but both sides were struggling to create any real chances, but Durham thought they’d taken the lead midway through the first half when Zoe Ness slotted home at the far post, but the Wildcats were denied by the linesman’s flag.

Sheffield reacted better to the offside goal and could have taken the lead themselves, but Sophie Jones’ effort at the near post was easy for Alderson to save.

Durham ended the half the brighter and were unlucky not to take the lead after half an hour, when Hepple set herself on the edge of the box, but her fierce shot from the edge of the box was turned around the post by Gibbons.

Moments later, Ness headed just over the bar from a Jordan Atkinson cross and then Atkinson tried an effort herself, which went in, but Ness was adjudged to have interfered with play from an offside position and Durham were denied for the second time. 

Robson had the last effort of the half and came close to giving the home side the lead but was denied by Gibbons.

Sheffield started the second half on top and took the lead just three minutes in to the second half when Melissa Johnson turned in Emma Johnson’s pass from close range.

Durham responded well and had the chance to equalise when Cottam burst through on the left-hand side, but she couldn’t guide her effort on target.

But it didn’t take long before Durham were level, Ness playing in Hepple a couple of yards out, who steered the ball past Gibbons in the 59th minute. 

Durham continued to threaten and came close when substitute Emily Roberts beat two players with a bursting run but was unlucky to see her curling effort go just wide of Gibbons’ far post.

Durham’s pressure paid off though, as Sarah Robson got in behind the defence, turned and smashed the ball past Gibbons after 72 minutes.

Jones had the chance to level for Sheffield immediately, but curled her shot wide from 20-yards out.

Durham could have finished the game off with just over 10 minutes to go when Roberts was tripped in the box. Hepple stepped up, but saw her penalty saved by Gibbons to deny the midfielder a second goal.

Late on Robson had a chance to add to her earlier goal but couldn’t guide her shot on target.

Durham XI: Helen Alderson; Kathryn Hill (Grace McCatty 85’), Sarah Wilson ©, Sarah Robson, Annabel Johnson; Jordan Atkinson (Ellis Dalgliesh 56’), Beth Hepple, Nicola Worthington, Becky Salicki; Abigail Cottam (Emily Roberts 65’), Zoe Ness 

Unused subs: Megan Borthwick, Lauren Briggs

Sheffield XI: Danielle Gibbons; Sarah Jackson, Sherry McCue, Danielle Cox, Melissa Johnson (Beth Donoghue 81’), Sophie Hones, Rhema Lord-Mears, Katie Anderson, Chloe Dixon (Ella Hartley 65’), Emma Johnson ©, Nicole Kemp

Attendance: 244

Report by Rory Drake

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