Durham Women cruised into the last sixteen of the SSE FA Women’s Cup courtesy of a comprehensive victory over Cardiff City.
Abby Holmes’ first goal for the club handed the Wildcats an early lead – but they were soon to be given a scare as Kylie Nolan pulled the Bluebirds level.
But a Beth Hepple strike on the stroke of half-time restored Durham’s lead, and a Sarah Robson strike coupled with Zoe Ness’ late brace wrapped up a comfortable win.
A frozen pitch caused the initial tie to be postponed a week ago, but it was a red hot start from the Wildcats who took the lead after just eight minutes.
With Cardiff failing to fully clear a string of corners, the hosts took full advantage with Holmes ghosting in at the far post to head home the opener.
It could have been two moments later – Ness lofting an effort narrowly wide after latching onto Hepple’s clever through ball.
Cardiff rallied after being under the cosh early on, and were handed a golden chance to equalise when Nolan was barged over in the penalty area.
But Ceri Williams couldn’t convert from the spot, with Megan Borthwick guessing correctly to keep out her effort from 12 yards.
It mattered little though, as the FA WNL side levelled only moments later – Nolan finding the net via the far post to level things up.
That knocked Durham, who struggled to carve out any meaningful chances as the half drew to a close.
The exception was a piece of individual brilliance from Ness, who took on five Cardiff players before seeing her curling effort come back off the post.
Hepple, though, would restore the lead before the interval – smashing home from the edge of the area after Cardiff failed to properly clear a corner.
And the Wildcats continued to press forward after the break, with substitute Sarah Robson hooking past Laura O’Sullivan just five minutes after entering the fray to make it three.
Ness and Abi Cottam both fired narrowly wide as Durham poured forward in search of a fourth – while remaining solid at the back as Cardiff eyed a route back into the game.
A fourth would come late on – Ness converting from close range after good work from Lisa Robertson to tee her up.
There was still time for a fifth, too, with Ness reacting quickest after some penalty area pinball to prod home from 10 yards.
Victory sees Durham through to the last sixteen of the competition – where they will face Bristol City Women away from home.
Durham XI: Borthwick, Robertson, Wilson, Hepple (Robson), Ness, Gears, Salicki, Christon, Roberts (Cottam), Holmes (Hill), Lee
Sub not used: Reid