REPORT: Durham 8-0 Newcastle United

Durham Women rounded-off their pre-season campaign with victory over Newcastle United.

Beth Hepple netted a brace in the triumph with Lauren Briggs, Kathryn Hill, Sarah Robson, Sarah Wilson and Dee Bradley also finding the net in an entertaining contest.

In front of their first home crowd for 18 months, the Wildcats began brightly and came close to opening the scoring with just two minutes on the clock – Mollie Lambert side-footing over after being teed-up by Hepple.

And it was Hepple who would again play provider when the breakthrough did come.

The midfielder danced her way into the box before being blocked-off, with the ball ricocheting off a Newcastle defender and into the air before being headed home by Briggs.

Briggs almost returned the favour moments later, but her cross was narrowly too high for Hepple to head home.

Durham continued to dominate and got a deserved second when Hill pounced in the box to turn home from close range after a corner.

And a third goal would come second after the restart – Hepple slotting home after another slick home move.

The Wildcats thought they had a fourth shortly after, only for Robson’s effort to be chalked-out for offside, but she wouldn’t have to wait too long to get on the scoresheet.

After picking the ball up out wide, the Northern Irish international looked set to cross – only to bend home a stunning effort into the top corner.

Hepple and Briggs both then sent efforts narrowly the wrong side of the woodwork as the hosts continued to press forward.

A fifth would come before the break and it was no surprise that the lively Hepple got it as she fired into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.

And Durham picked-up where they left off after the interval, with the second half only six minutes old when Wilson tapped home from close range after a free-kick wasn’t fully cleared by the visitors.

A seventh came when Robson’s low cross was turned into their own goal by a Newcastle defender, but the Magpies asked some real questions of Durham after the break.

Were it not for some good defending, the Women’s National League side could have found themselves on the scoresheet.

But as it was, it was Durham who would net again as substitute Bradley headed home Hepple’s in-swinging corner.

Liz Ejupi headed narrowly over in the final moments of the game as the Wildcats continued to press until the final minutes.

Focus at Maiden Castle now turns to the visit of Watford next weekend.

Durham XI: Borthwick, Hill (Holmes 75), Briggs (Johnson 66), Lambert, Wilson, Robson (Bradley 62), Hepple, Galloway (Ejupi), Salicki, Christon (Brown 66), Roberts (Achterhof 69)

Goals: Briggs 5, Hill 14, Hepple 15 & 44, Robson 33, Wilson 51, OG 52, Bradley 78

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