Durham Women claimed a valuable three points in the Barclays Women’s Championship courtesy of victory at Sheffield United.
Eleanor Ryan-Doyle’s first-half strike was enough for the Blues, who had several chances to extend their lead.
But they also had to defend resolutely against a determined Blades attack who piled on the pressure as the game progressed.
After a cagey start, the first real chance of the game led to the opener in the 12th minute.
Dee Bradley’s through ball was dummied by Saoirse Noonan, allowing Ryan-Doyle to bear down on goal – and she made no mistake in slotting past Fran Stenson into the far corner.
That buoyed Durham who started to get into their groove, with Mollie Lambert lofting an effort over after a clever run.
But having weathered the storm, the hosts began to impose themselves on the game.
Tatiana Saunders did well to force Isobel Goodwin wide after she found herself one-on-one, before the Durham stopper made a fingertip stop to deny Jess Sigsworth moments later.
It was still the Wildcats creating the better of the chances though, with Noonan thwarted by Stenson in injury time after Lambert’s low cross caused confusion.
Poppy Pritchard also sent a header wide in additional time as Durham ended strongly.
The visitors, though, would have to do their share of defending at the start of the second half.
Saunders again spectacularly denied Sigsworth from the edge of the area and stood tall to block Izzy Goodwin’s effort as the Blades started to ask some more serious questions.
Durham, though, were still a threat on the break and a quick counter saw Noonan through on goal only for Stenson to parry her near-post strike.
Eight minutes of additional time could have been a worry for the visitors, but rather than soak up pressure it was the Blues who applied it.
Stenson somehow kept out substitute Amy Andrews from close range before Lambert slotted wide – but one goal was enough to ensure the points headed back to Maiden Castle.
Durham XI: Saunders, Briggs, S Wilson, Robson, Lambert, Crosthwaite, Bradley, Pritchard (E Wilson 90+1), Ayre, Noonan (Andrews 82), Ryan-Doyle (Salicki 71)
Durham subs not used: McAloon, Nicholson, Holmes
Goal: Ryan-Doyle 12
Bookings: Bradley 14, Crosthwaite 28, Robson 71, Lambert 87, Briggs 90+8