Natalie Gutteridge headed in a late winner as Durham completed an FA Women’s Super League 2 double over Sheffield tonight.
Two of the division’s meanest defences looked set to play out a goalless draw at New Ferens Park until Gutteridge’s intervention in the 83rd minute as the Wildcats avenged their Continental Tyres Cup defeat at Dronfield 12 days ago.
The first half was a tight affair with few openings though there was no shortage of full-blooded challenges.
Gutteridge shot just wide for Durham in the seventh minute after good work down the left by debutant Tyler Dodds.
Sheffield, who went into the contest as the division’s lowest scorers, did not lack ambition going forward.
Jodie Michalska shot high and wide in the 24th minute and just before the interval she was off target with a fine effort from the edge of the home area.
Durham were inches away from taking a 49th-minute lead with Beth Hepple unlucky to see a screamer come back off Jules Draycott’s crossbar.
Jordan Atkinson, who scored the winner in the March meeting between the clubs, was almost in midway through the half following a defensive mix-up but Draycott rescued her side by coming out smartly.
The bar came to Durham’s aid 15 minutes from time when lively substitute Chelsea Flanagan struck the woodwork after seizing on Helen Alderson’s punch.
One goal always looked like settling it and, when Sheffield could not deal with Hepple’s high hanging corner, Gutteridge nodded in her sixth goal of the season from close range.
The drama was not over and in stoppage time, Alderson saved superbly from substitute Hannah Cain to protect the home lead.
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