REPORT: Durham 2-0 Liverpool

Durham Women signed-off 2020 with a superb victory over Liverpool.

Fine strikes either side of the break from Molly Sharpe and Emily Roberts handed the Wildcats a victory they so richly-deserved.

Lee Sanders made just one change from the side that won at Coventry last week, as Nicki Gears returned to the starting line-up.

And as perhaps was to be expected from a clash of two of the division’s promotion hopefuls, the opening to the game was cagey.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between – although Sarah Robson did send a header narrowly wide from a corner before Megan Borthwick did well to tip Amelie Thestrup’s shot from an angle wide.

Half-chances continued to come and go as Sharpe saw a hooked shot easily held by Laws, while Borthwick again denied Thestrup at the other end after forcing the striker wide.

It would take a moment of quality to opening the scoring and that came via Sharpe.

After a lightning quick Durham break involving Gears and Roberts, Sharpe sent home a stunning half-volley from the edge of the area to hand the Wildcats the lead on the stroke of half-time.

That somewhat turned the tide of the game, and Rachael Laws did well to get fingertips on a Beth Hepple free-kick to ensure the Reds would only trail by one at the break.

But Durham had to do some defending after the interval as Liverpool sought a way back into the game.

Risola Babajide sent an effort wide from range before turning provider for Mel Lawley, who was denied by a stunning Borthwick save when one-on-one.

From the following corner, Rhiannon Roberts and Niamh Fahey looked set to scramble the ball over the line – only for some heroic Durham defending to keep them at bay.

And having weathered the storm, the Wildcats could make it two.

Mollie Lambert was the provider as she picked out Roberts on the left, and the winger did the rest – taking on five Liverpool players before curling a superb strike into the top corner.

The visitors pushed forward in the late stages of the game but struggled to seriously test Borthwick, who did well to make some routine saves as the game ticked into injury time.

But in truth, she was largely untroubled in the dying minutes as Durham saw out a fine win on home soil.

Durham XI: Borthwick, Hill, Briggs, Lambert (Brown 90), Wilson, Robson, Hepple, Sharpe (Galloway 63), Gears (Lee 80), Christon, Roberts (Salicki 80)

Durham subs: Reid

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