REPORT: London Bees 1-2 Durham

Molly Sharpe’s second half strike proved the difference as Durham Women continued their unbeaten start to the season.

The striker pounced shortly after the restart to hand the Wildcats victory, after Becky Salicki had cancelled-out Charlie Estcourt’s opener.

Durham were far from at their best in what was a cagey – and, at times, heated – affair at The Hive.

But they had started brightly, with Mollie Lambert seeing a shot tipped wide by Sarah Quantrill before Sarah Robson’s looping shot landed just the wrong side o the upright.

Salicki then almost scored an early goal of the season contender as she embarked on a fine solo run before a tame shot was held by Quantrill in the Bees goal.

Yet despite all that early pressure, the Wildcats found themselves behind after 19 minutes as Estcourt stepped up to fire a fine free-kick into the top corner from around 22 yards oil.

The Bees’ lead lasted just three minutes, though – as Beth Hepple’s corner was turned home by Salicki at close range after an almighty scramble in the box.

That was to be one of Salicki’s last acts in the game as she was forced to withdraw through injury, but the Wildcats didn’t let that blow deter them as they set about in search of a second.

Hepple sent a trademark free-kick narrowly over the bar while half-hearted penalty appeals were waved away as Nicki Gears – making her 100th appearance for the club – saw her cross strike a home player.

And while there was no breakthrough before the interval, Durham took the lead just eight minutes after the restart.

The goal owed much to the fine work of Lambert, whose low cross eventually found its way to Sharpe who struck low into the bottom corner.

Bees saw plenty of the ball after this point as they sought a leveller but, in truth, they rarely threatened the Durham goal.

Megan Borthwick was a spectator for the most part, having only to deal with crosses and the odd tame shot as Lee Burch’s side struggled to carve open a resolute Durham backline.

Indeed, the Wildcats could have extended their lead with Robson sending a header off the crossbar and substitute Lily Crosthwaite pulling a shot narrowly wide in injury time.

Two goals would prove enough, as the Wildcats head into a two-week break with another three points – albeit after a performance that the side will be keen to improve upon.

Durham XI: Borthwick, Hill, Lambert, Wilson, Robson, Hepple, Sharpe (Galloway), Gears (Crosthwaite), Salicki (Briggs), Christon, Roberts

Sub not used: Reid

Attendance: Behind closed doors

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