The Palatinates shook Leeds off their backs in the semi final of the Northern Conference Cup, gaining pay back after last week’s defeat to their opponents in the league with a 3-0 victory.
From the whistle neither team took the upper hand, the ball being played back and forth between territories. However, the sea was not calm for long with Leeds making a lucky break into the Durham defence, forcing Anna Derrick to clear the ball away from danger. Leeds continued to hunt the Palatinates down, with the ball snatched away on numerous occasions.
It looked like the game was going to fall in Durham’s favour when Emily Chesbro sent a perfectly weighted ball down the line to Robin Chidester, but unfortunately the fast and furious Chidester wasn’t quick enough and the ball edged over the sideline. Communication soon brought the girls a chance with work from Lucie Cardwell and Chidester placing the ball at the feet of Emily Clark whose shot was unluckily smothered by the Leeds keeper.
Durham continued to put themselves in goal scoring situations but couldn’t seem to put a finish on the set up. Getting a feel for the game, Leeds were quick to take up the chance of untangling themselves from the web Durham had begun to weave, giving keeper Amy Wright something to worry about after pressure on the host defenders led to a through ball straight into the box. However, the experienced Wright was able to take cover of the ball to keep the scores at level pegging.
This spurred the Palatinates on and an excellent turn from Anna Pilkington earned a corner. The ball fell to Captain Helen Thomas whose firm strike gave the game its opening goal.
A second was nearly on the scoreboard after Chidester sent the ball intimately close to the crossbar. Leeds’ threat dropped and Durham went up a gear, opening the second half with Clark making a lone run into the penalty box, sweeping the ball round the keeper and tucking the ball into the left corner. 2-0 up and confidence was taking hold of the Durham camp.
The tiring Yorkshire side gave Durham the opportunity to pick off sloppy passes and drive the ball forward. However, a brief moment of adrenaline gave Leeds a corner and forced Chelsea Miazgowicz to head the ball off the line. With minutes to spare, Durham wrapped up the game after a ball from Chesbro picked out Chidester who dribbled into the box and guided the ball delicately past the keeper whose finger tips could do nothing but assist the ball on its way to giving Durham a 3-0 victory.
The women now go through to the final where they have high hopes of lifting the cup against Manchester Met in two weeks time.