Patience and persistence pay off for Sheffield United Women as they earn point at promotion-chasing Durham

Bex Rayner says she and her Sheffield United teammates were confident that a goal would come, after they snatched a late equaliser in their FA Women’s Championship clash against promotion-chasing Durham.

Beth Hepple coolly converted a first-half penalty for Lee Sanders’ side, which looked for some time like it was to be the winner.

Neil Redfearn’s Blades were denied multiple times by goal-line clearances, while the Wildcats missed chances to add to their tally.

However, five minutes from time, Rayner’s deflected effort ensured the points were shared.

Bex Rayner of Sheffield United: Isaac Parkin / Sportimage

“I think as a team we weren't on it the first half,” Rayner admitted.

“But we came into it in the second half, we started to battle with them physically and managed to get the goal, which I think we deserved. And it was great for me to get it.“We had a few cleared off the line, I feel like in the back of our mind we knew that it was coming.

“Although they were getting in and around the box, I feel like on the counter we were able to go and do that and battle with them physically on our set-pieces.

“I'm happy with a point. Obviously I would want more, but it's a very hard place to come. And they are always a really tough team to play against."

Both teams started the game brightly, with United coming within inches of opening the scoring midway through the first half - but Kathryn Hill hooked Courtney Sweetman-Kirk’s header off the line.

January signing Rio Hardy hit the post for Durham before the Blades had an effort cleared off the line in the last act of the half.

Shortly after the break, Hardy missed a glorious chance to double Durham’s lead but she missed the target from six yards out after being teed up by Lambert.

The Blades then remarkably had a third effort cleared off the line, with another Sweetman-Kirk header hacked away, this time by Lauren Briggs.

However, five minutes from time Rayner finally grabbed the equaliser for the visitors when her half-volley was deflected into the bottom corner to dent Durham’s promotion hopes.

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