Durham Women spoiled Sheffield FC’s FA Women’s Super League 2 debut with a 1-0 away success last night.
Jordan Atkinson’s goal just before half-time was enough to seal an opening day victory.
The hosts started the better, with Ellie Gilliatt stinging the fingertips of keeper Helen Alderson early on.
Durham then took a firm grip and created a cluster of chances, with Sarah McFadden and Beth Hepple both going close.
Atkinson broke the deadlock when she worked her way inwards, weaved through the home defence and slotted into the far-left corner.
Durham defended well to see out the win, though Gilliatt blazed a great chance over the bar and the visitors later had to hack clear in an almighty goalmouth scramble.
Durham assistant boss Andy Thorpe said: “It was a fantastic result. We got the three points which we came here to do. It was hard, we knew it would be. The girls battled hard and saw it through to the end.
“In pre-season, something we worked on was the first five minutes in each half and the five minutes before half-time and full-time being the most important.
“So to see us get a goal in one of those periods is a dream come true because we’ve worked hard on it and then done it.
“We rode our luck a couple of times, but that’s football. We’ve got a solid back four with a decent keeper behind them which makes a difference.”
Ex-Sunderland player Steph Houghton, the England Ladies captain, hit a last-minute winner as Manchester City beat Notts County 1-0 in the top flight.
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