A FIRST-HALF double from Caroline Dixon proved to be enough to give Durham Women a 2-1 victory over London Bees at New Ferens Park.
The commanding centre-back scored an early penalty and a second goal from open play, before Sydney Hinchcliffe netted for the Bees to add some late pressure, but the hosts held on.
Durham did not have to wait long to take the lead. Beth Jennings was hauled down just inside the box on 11 minutes, which left Dixon to despatch the spot kick into the right side.
Captain Dixon doubled her tally in the 19th minute, as she stabbed home from a goalmouth scramble, following a dangerous Beth Hepple corner.
Wildcats winger Jordan Atkinson burst into box as the half drew to a close, but her shot was smothered then spilled by Cherie Rowlands.
The Bees almost pulled one back after an hour as they forced the ball into the net, although the referee had already blown for a foul.
The visitors’ pressure paid off in the 77th minute, as substitute Hinchcliffe sprinted clear of the defence and slotted home to set up a nervy finale, which saw Billie Brooks head over the top and Ellie Christon hack a shot away from the Durham goal-line at the death.
Durham Women: Moorhouse; King, Christon, Dixon (Linsley 69), Wilson, Scott, Hepple, Hanratty, Jennings (Round 59), Purfield, Atkinson (Jordinson, 83). Subs not used: Bradley, Hardy. Goals: Dixon (11 (pen), 19).
London Bees: Rowlands, Brooks, Chappell, Beaumont, Howells, Anderson, Goss, Gaylor, Nuttall, Georgiou (Hurley 58), Loomes (Hinchcliffe 73). Subs not used: Harris, Miller, Cooper. Goals: Hinchcliffe (77).