Durham 1 Sheffield United Women 2: Fourth straight win for Carla Ward’s side
Sheffield United Women continued their recent fine form with a hard-fought victory over title chasing Durham.
Goals from Dan Cox and Jade Pennock sealed a fourth straight win for the visitors, although Beth Hepple’s strike had made it a nervy final 15 minutes.
The Blades took the lead on 16 minutes when a long free-kick from Rayner found Cox and the full-back slotted home from close range.
As the half wore on, Durham should have been level; Nicki Gears raced clear but she could only shoot straight at Fran Bentley, while Becky Salicki’s header failed to cause the visiting keeper too much trouble
The second half saw Sheffield United start on the attack and Ebony Salmon curled an effort into the arms of Hannah Reid on 49 minutes.
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Just before the hour mark, Durham’s Abby Holmes met a free-kick on the stretch but her shot was straight at Bentley.
Just a minute later, the Wildcats were in deeper trouble when Salicki was shown a straight red for hauling back Salmon.
Pennock then doubled the Blades lead on 69 minutes as she ran into the box and placed the ball in the bottom corner.
Durham were given a lifeline with 15 minutes left when Hepple smashed a free-kick into the far corner but despite a couple of late scares, the visitors held on for an impressive victory.