Kirsty Hanson’s brace helped FAWSL2 leaders Doncaster Rovers Belles to a 3-1 victory over Durham despite a spirited second half comeback attempt by the visitors.
In-form winger Hanson fired the hosts ahead after four minutes, getting onto Sam Tierney’s excellent through ball and finding the bottom corner from just outside the box.
Sophie Bradley-Auckland went close to doubling the lead nine minutes later, seizing on a corner ball to put a first-time shot on target, but Durham skipper Sarah Wilson headed it off the line.
However, there was nothing Wilson could do to stop Bradley-Auckland moments later from another Belles set piece: a Sophie Walton cross from the left that the defender turned home for her first Doncaster goal.
Former Belles winger Emily Roberts hit the post with a curler from the corner of the box as Durham looked to pull one back, before another Tierney pass released FAWSL2 top scorer Jess Sigsworth only for Helen Alderson to make an exceptional save.
Tierney was again the provider with a chipped pass as Hanson slotted through Alderson’s legs for her second goal.
Zoe Ness pulled one back for Durham five minutes after the restart, glancing in a well-delivered corner at the near post.
Alderson pulled off another low save to again deny Sigsworth on 62 minutes, leaving the Belles looking slightly nervy even with their 3-1 lead.
Durham changed to a more adventurous formation for the last 20 minutes and that almost paid off as striker Ness looked certain to score, only to blaze over the open goal from six yards.
Despite that late pressure, Doncaster were able to hang on for the three points. They have a six-point lead at the top.