Rampant Durham put five past Leeds Beckett

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Durham’s women’s football 1st XI continued their unbeaten run as they beat Leeds Beckett for the second time this season at Maiden Castle. The victory means that the Palatinates remain top of the Premier North division with an impressive sixteen points from six games. The opening stages produced relatively few chances for either team but it was Durham who took the lead when Lucy Gildein’s pull back eventually fell to Ali Rubnitz who buried the ball in the top corner from close range.

Leeds Beckett responded well to going behind and their centre forward had a glorious chance to equalise mid-way through the first half. She was put clean through by a nice pass but her rather tame shot was comfortably saved by Lisa Lubke in the Durham goal.

Neither side looked totally comfortable although the Palatinates were certainly having more of the ball and were creating a greater quantity and quality of chances, most notably when Kim Lopez had a sweetly struck shot from distance palmed away.

But the next ten minutes saw Leeds Beckett produce their best spell of the match to stun the home side. Firstly, their centre forward was once again played through after a lovely pass and this time she made no mistake as she expertly poked the ball beyond the onrushing goalkeeper with the outside of her foot.

Shortly after, she scored her second of the game when a slip allowed Leeds Beckett to win possession. The centre forward shot from distance and although Lisa Lubke got a hand to her low effort, it wasn’t enough to keep it out as the ball trickled over the line.

It was harsh on Durham but the Palatinates kept their heads up and bounced back in the best possible fashion with an equaliser on the stroke of half time. Steph Jacobson cut inside and curled a beautifully precise effort into the corner with her left foot. It was a sublime finish and was greeted with cheers of joy on the Durham bench.

In the second half, the home side were dominant. They began to move the ball quicker and Lucy Gildein in particular caused the opposition defence problems with her pace and clever runs in the channels. At one stage she went on a mazy run from one half of the pitch to the other, leaving defenders trailing in her wake, before showing great composure and balance to force a good save from Leeds Beckett’s goalkeeper.

Durham definitely had the momentum and were in control but with 70 minutes gone they were reminded of the threat that the opposition still posed. Totally against the run of play, the Leeds Beckett centre forward looked certain to grab her hat-trick when one on one with Lisa but the Durham goalkeeper stood tall and produced a fantastic save to push the ball away for a corner.

That turned out to be a pivotal moment in the contest as Durham got their noses back in front. Kim Lopez found Lucy Gildein with a defence splitting pass and the striker was fouled by the goalkeeper. The referee didn’t hesitate to point to the spot and Amelia Pereira confidently slotted away the penalty.

The home side quickly turned a slender lead into a comfortable one as Kim Lopez rounded the keeper and scored following a lightning fast counter attack to make it 4-2.

A change in tactics from Leeds as they went with three at the back was not enough to stop the now rampant Palatinates who further extended their lead in the dying moments of the game. Lucy Gildein stretched the tired defenders, got to the by-line and pulled the ball back perfectly for Amelia Pereira to tap the ball in for her second of the game.

After the match Head Coach Richard Warburton was pleased with the result and praised the team’s ability to fight back.

“At half time we were disappointed to be drawing 2-2 but at the same time quite relieved. We had been pretty dominant in the first half but they got two quick goals which put them in charge in terms of the scoreline.

“The equaliser just before half time was vital and we did a really good job of keeping that momentum going in the second half.”

Looking ahead, Richard knows the importance of the next two games as the Palatinates look to win the Premier North division.

“We play Nottingham Trent next week who are bottom of the league so we have to make sure we get the result.

“If we do that, we play Northumbria here in two weeks and if we can win that one as well then that will probably be the league wrapped up. So a big two weeks ahead, six points needed.”

 

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