REPORT: Coventry 3-4 Durham

Durham Women completed a stunning second half comeback to beat Coventry United – having been 3-1 behind at half-time.

Beth Merrick’s hat-trick had put the Red and Green ahead at the break, despite Beth Hepple’s tenth minute strike.

But an Emily Roberts brace and Sarah Robson’s effort saw the Wildcats complete an unlikely turnaround.

Lee Sanders made just one change from the side that faced Blackburn Rovers last week, as Bridget Galloway started in place of Nicki Gears. There was a boost on the bench, meanwhile, as Becky Salicki returned from injury.

But it was a slow start from the Wildcats, who found themselves two down with eight minutes on the clock.

Both goals came from Merrick – the first a rocket from distance and the second a cool finish after a quick counter-attack.

After that slow start, Durham grew into the game and pulled a goal back – Hepple prodding home after Bridget Galloway’s intelligent cut-back.

That buoyed the Wildcats, who poured bodies forward in search of a leveller.

Roberts saw a shot blocked at the source before Sue Wood did well to claw Hepple’s low shot away from the bottom corner.

Coventry remained a threat on the break and Borthwick twice had to deny the lively Shannon O’Brien after she broke through on goal – although there were suspicions of offside on both occasions.

And while Durham improved as the half wore on, they conceded a third only minutes before the break as Merrick swept home from 12 yards after a cross from deep.

But after some stern words at half-time, the visitors came out a side transformed after the break and netted a second moments after the restart.

Roberts was the scorer, curling into the top corner after Durham kept on the pressure after a corner wasn’t fully cleared.

From there on out, the Wildcats kept on pushing but were kept at bay buy their hosts – for whom ‘keeper Wood was in inspired form.

But a third would come with twenty minutes left as Robson reacted quickest to hook home from another set piece.

And there would be a fourth moments later after substitute Nicki Gears spearheaded a lightning-quick break before slipping in Roberts – who fired across Wood and into the bottom corner.

There were chances for a fifth – with Wood keeping out Gears before Robson sent a long-range effort over the bar – but Durham had already done the necessary to claim a fine win.

Durham XI: Borthwick, Hill, Briggs, Lambert, Wilson, Robson, Hepple, Sharpe (Salicki 86), Galloway (Gears 63), Christon, Roberts (Brown 89)

Sub not used: Mackain

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