REPORT: Blackburn 1-2 Durham

Durham Women returned to winning ways after a dominant performance at Blackburn Rovers.

Goals from Rio Hardy and Liz Ejupi were enough for the side as they triumphed again on the road.

The Wildcats began well and had the first real chance of the game from the afternoon’s first corner – Blackburn only clearing as far as Ejupi, whose shot was hacked off the line.

Ellie Christon then warmed the palms of Alex Brooks with a stinging shot from the angle as Durham stamped their authority on the clash.

But for all their possession, clear-cut chances were proving difficult to come by with Blackburn’s defensive unit standing strong.

That was until the half hour mark, though, when Durham took the lead.

A surging run from Christon saw her break into the box before the ball broke kindly for Hardy, who smashed home her first goal for the club.

Becky Salicki then had to make a fine block to deny Ellie Leek after a rare home break, but the half ended with the Wildcats on top – with Sarah Robson seeing an effort from range held by Brooks.

And the visitors had the first real chance of the second half too, with Lauren Briggs seeing a low drive pushed wide by Brooks.

But with their first real chance, Blackburn levelled.

Tash Fenton’s free-kick was met with a glancing header from Kayleigh McDonald which took the ball past Megan Borthwick.

That buoyed the hosts who came close to a second when Ellie Leek was found in space at the back post, but she fluffed her lines and fired wide.

And the significance of that miss would be felt when Durham retook the lead, Ejupi bundling home after Sarah Wilson had knocked a free-kick into a dangerous area.

From there on out it was near enough one-way traffic, with Blackburn failing to really threaten Borthwick’s goal.

Hardy saw an effort on the turn fly narrowly over the bar before a Hepple corner looked to have crossed the line, but no goal was given.

And with some fine game management late on, Durham saw out a crucial win.

Durham XI: Borthwick, Hill (Lambert 90), Briggs, Wilson, Robson, Hepple, Hardy, Salicki, Bradley (Holmes 70), Christon, Ejupi

Durham subs not used: McAloon, Roberts, Galloway

Bookings: Ejupi 19, Bradley 54

Goals: Hardy 30, Ejupi 63

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