Match Report: Durham 3-2 Blackburn Rovers

Durham Women edged-out a five-goal thriller against Blackburn Rovers in their opening FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup group stage game.

Saoirse Noonan put the hosts ahead with two minutes on the clock but strikes from Helen Seed and Millie Chandarana put Rovers ahead.

But two late penalties from Noonan and Eleanor Ryan-Doyle ensured it was the Blues took the three points.

Durham handed full senior debuts to Erin Nicholson and Ella Wilson and enjoyed a dream start when Noonan put them ahead – slotting home from close range after Mollie Lambert’s set-back.

The Irish striker was then denied by Shannel Salgado before the visitors drew level as Seed spectacularly volleyed home from a corner.

And Blackburn went ahead just before the half-hour as Chandarana fired home a near-post strike – with Durham incensed that play wasn’t stopped due to a head injury.

Evie Smith could have extended their lead in first-half injury time when they broke at speed through Evie Smith, but her shot flashed narrowly wide.

The Blues rallied after the break and came close through Sarah Wilson who was denied by Salgado at her near post.

A leveller would come in the final twenty minutes though, Noonan slotting home from the penalty spot after a handball in the box.

Georgia Walters then struck the post as Blackburn looked to respond, with Smith also coming close.

But it was to be Durham who sealed the victory in the 90th minute – Ryan-Doyle keeping her cool from 12 yards after Noonan was tripped to send the home fans into raptures.

Durham XI: McAloon, Briggs, S Wilson (Holmes 71), Lambert, Crosthwaite (Pritchard 63), Salicki, Bradley (Ayre 79), E Wilson, Noonan, Nicholson (Ryan-Doyle 71), Clarke (Andrews 63)

Durham sub not used: Saunders

Goals: Noonan (2, 73), Ryan-Doyle (90)

Bookings: Bradley 24, Noonan 29, Ayre 90+7

Attendance: 623

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