REPORT: Sunderland 0-2 Durham

Durham Women claimed a deserved victory over Sunderland in the first North East derby of the season.

Beth Hepple and Mollie Lambert found the net in the second half as the Wildcats left Eppleton Colliery Welfare with all three points.

Durham made just one change from the side that beat Lewes last weekend as Kathryn Hill returned in place of Danielle Brown.

And it was the visitors who threatened first after winning a free-kick on the edge of the area – only for the wall to block her low effort.

But as the half wore on, Sunderland began to create chances with Neve Herron forcing Megan Borthwick into a fine low stop after a corner wasn’t fully cleared.

Emily Scarr then sent an effort looping over the bar after a lightning quick break and it was on the counter where the Black Cats looked to mount their attacks.

Durham, meanwhile, were seeing plenty of the ball but struggling to carve out chances – although Lauren Briggs did drill wide after a mazy run while Bridget Galloway saw a volley blocked at the source.

And there would be one big chance for either team before the break with Lambert denied by Claudia Moan after a defensive mix-up from the hosts, before Scarr fired straight at Borthwick after wriggling into space in the box.

The second half continued in much of the same vein with Durham seeing more of the ball – and with the sun now behind them, the quality of their attacking play vastly improved.

It was no surprise, therefore, when it was the visitors who took the lead.

After Faye Mullen bundled Lambert over on the edge of the box, Hepple stepped-up to curl a free-kick into the bottom corner.

From there on out, it was Durham who carved out the best of the chances.

Hepple again came close with a powerful strike from the edge of the box that was held by Moan, before the Sunderland stopper had to claw substitute Abby Holmes’ cross out from under the bar.

A second would eventually come as the game ticked into its final 15 minutes, with Emily Roberts threading in Lambert who lofted the ball over Moan and in from 20 yards out.

Sunderland applied plenty of pressure late on but failed to seriously test Borthwick, while Lambert almost added a third when her low drive was pushed around the post by Moan.

But two goals were enough for Durham, who continued their promising form of late.

Durham XI: Borthwick, Hill, Briggs, Lambert, Wilson, Robson, Hepple (Brown 83), Galloway (Roberts 71), Salicki, Bradley, Christon (Holmes 55)

Subs not used: Mackain, Johnson

Goals: Hepple 57, Lambert 76

Yellow Card: Salicki 30

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