REPORT: Durham 3-0 Sunderland

Durham Women put in arguably their best performance of the season as they comfortably beat Sunderland.

Mollie Lambert’s early strike set the tone for the Wildcats in their final home game of the campaign, before second half strikes from Dee Bradley and Beth Hepple added some gloss to the scoreline.

It could have been more too, but some solid Sunderland defending kept the hosts at bay.

After a fortnight without a game, there could have been some signs of rustiness from Durham – but that certainly wasn’t the case.

As with just three minutes on the clock, the hosts were ahead – Lambert curling home from the edge of the box after a slick counter-attack.

It could have been two moments later as Rio Hardy unleashed a powerful drive that Claudia Moan had to repel, before Becky Salicki then caught the ‘keeper out and saw her cross come back off the woodwork.

Durham continued to apply all the pressure with Sarah Robson forcing Moan into another save with a header, before Lauren Briggs curled narrowly wide after another free-flowing move.

Sunderland did have their spells of possession, but failed to really trouble Naoisha McAloon in the first half.

But in the second half, it was Durham’s game.

Their lead was doubled when Moan spilled a powerful Hepple strike, allowing Bradley to bundle home from close range.

And moments later Hepple had the goal her fine play deserved as her fine footwork created the space before she curled into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

The midfielder could have added further goals too, but twice saw efforts well-saved by Moan.

Sunderland had some half-chances as the game wore on, with McAloon having to remain alert to keep Grace Ede and Grace McCatty at bay.

But Durham continued to have the best of the chances and came close to extending their lead late on – substitute Bridget Galloway seeing an effort scrambled away while Ellie Christon struck the bar with a cross.

Three goals was more than enough for the Wildcats though, who signed-off their home campaign in fine fashion in front of a sell-out crowd.

Durham XI: McAloon, Hill (Holmes 67), Briggs (Christon 67), Lambert, Wilson, Robson (Ejupi 74), Hepple, Hardy (Galloway 74), Salicki, Bradley (Greenwood 76), Roberts

Durham subs not used: Borthwick, Brown

Goals: Lambert 3, Bradley 51, Hepple 53

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