Durham Women fell to defeat at Birmingham City in the Barclays Women’s Championship.
Goals from Jade Pennock, Ivana Fuso and Remi Allen sealed victory for the in-form hosts, while Eleanor Ryan-Doyle netted against her former side for Durham.
It was the hosts who started brightly with Martha Harris firing high and wide with the first shot of the game, before Tatiana Saunders had to bravely punch away a Lucy Quinn delivery moments later.
And it was a Quinn cross that would lead to the opener on 12 minutes.
After her low set-back wasn’t cleared, Fuso skewed a shot into the path of Jade Pennock who slid home from close range.
Saunders then had to get down smartly to deny Fuso’s powerful drive from 12 yards as Birmingham continued to see more of the ball.
A second would come on the half hour mark – Saunders did well to deny Pennock at point-blank range but Fuso was on hand to sweep home the rebound.
But Durham grew into the game and pulled a goal back after a sustained spell of pressure.
Poppy Pritchard weaved her way into the box and her low cross was turned home by Ryan-Doyle on her return to her former club.
Pritchard then saw a shot of her charged down as the visitors ended the first half strongly – but it was Birmingham who came out brightest in the second half.
And they added a third on 64 minutes when substitute Allen stooped low and headed home from a deep cross.
That rallied Durham, who had a golden chance to pull a goal back on 76 minutes when Amy Andrews was hacked down in the box – only for Noonan’s spot kick to be well-saved.
Choe Yu-Ri had the best chance of the final exchanges for the hosts, with her low shot striking the post, but Durham couldn’t find a crucial goal as Birmingham held on for victory.
Durham XI: Saunders, Briggs, S Wilson, Robson, Lambert (Salicki 70), Crosthwaite (Andrews 60), Bradley, Pritchard (Hepple 70), Ayre (E Wilson 70), Noonan, Ryan-Doyle
Durham sub not used: McAloon
Goal: Ryan-Doyle 33
Bookings: Bradley 9, Hepple 76, Briggs 77