REPORT: Durham 3-1 Blackburn Rovers

Durham Women booked their place in the fifth round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup after a comfortable over Blackburn Rovers.

Goals from Beth Hepple, Liz Ejupi and Sarah Robson were enough for the Wildcats, with Annabel Blanchard’s late strike not enough to spark a comeback for the visitors.

There was just one change for Durham from the side that drew with Sheffield United as Ejupi replaced the cup-tied Rio Hardy.

And the hosts started brightly, with Emily Roberts firing narrowly wide after a neat move on the left flank.

But it was almost Blackburn who took an early lead with Lauren Thomas prodding the wrong the side of the post after breaking through on goal.

That buoyed Durham, who began to assert their dominance on the game.

Kathryn Hill twice sent headers flashing past the upright while Roberts again came close after cutting inside from the flank.

And the Wildcats’ pressure would finally pay off just after the half hour mark, when Hepple rose highest to head home Roberts’ teasing cross.

Hepple was then denied a second by Brooks after latching onto a through ball, but Durham wouldn’t have to wait long to double their lead – Ejupi stooping to head home Hill’s fine centre.

There was time for a third before the break too, with Robson netting her first of the campaign after reacting quickest to steer home after Brooks fumbled a free-kick.

Durham began the second half as they started the first, and put their visitors under real pressure.

But against the run of play, Blackburn pulled a goal back via a fine strike from range from Blanchard.

That didn’t stop the Wildcats from searching for further goals though, and Hepple and Briggs both came close to extending the lead.

Three goals were enough for Durham, however, who will now be in Monday’s draw.

Durham XI: McAloon, Hill, Briggs, Lambert, Wilson (Christon 80), Robson (Bradley 83), Hepple, Salicki, Roberts (Crosthwaite 83), Holmes (Brown 70), Ejupi (Galloway 70)

Durham subs not used: Borthwick, Ayre

Goals: Hepple 31, Ejupi 37, Robson 45

Bookings: Holmes 46, Robson 62

Attendance: 447

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