Ladies First Team vs. Durham (0 : 1)
Durham edged to a hard-fought 1-0 victory at the expense of Sheffield as Nat Gutteridge’s header claimed all three points in the FA Women’s Super League Spring Series.
The midfielder, playing in a lead striker role, rose unmarked to head home the decisive goal as both teams spent large parts of the game cancelling each other out.
Neither side dominated during an uneventful opening 45 minutes as both goalkeepers remained underworked and untested at New Ferens Park.
The visiting Sheffield outfit created the best chance in the first half in the 42nd minute as Hannah Cain’s low drive was hacked off the line after a corner was only half cleared.
But the deadlock was finally broken in the 54th minute when Zoe Ness took advantage of the lack of an offside at a throw-in to cross from the byline.
Her cross found Gutteridge unmarked in the area and she nodded home from six yards out.
Sheffield rarely threatened a comeback despite plenty of effort and commitment, regularly getting down the flanks but the quality of crossing let down the visitors all too often.
Only Ellie Gilliatt’s late driven cross from the right caused any alarm on a quiet afternoon for home goalkeeper Helen Alderson.
Nat Gutteridge, Durham scorer, said: “All the times we have played Sheffield they have been really close games and we have only won by a single goal and they have been real scraps. Luckily we have come on the right side of the result. We have taken our chance and scored so we have to be happy with that.”
“Maybe in the past we have had a lot more chances and not scored. Today we have not created as much as we would have liked but done really well to see the opportunity to take the quick throw in and we caught them out. Sometimes it is those fine margins that win you games.”
Emma Lipman, Sheffield FC, said: “It is frustrating; we have come here and conceded a silly goal. We have switched off and we have had to pay for it. The first half, we edged it, we dominated and thought we were going to come out and take it to Durham and try to get a goal but it just didn’t seem to happen. Conceding the goal, we were a bit complacent so it is a bit frustrating to be honest. Playing in defence, we pride ourselves on keeping clean sheets. We have got to go back, have a look at that and question ourselves because that is not acceptable.”
Durham: Alderson; Christon, Wilson, Salicki, Johnson; Gibson, Lee, Hepple; Ness, Gutteridge, Roberts. Subs: Briggs, Atkinson, Jennings, Borthwick, Dodds.
Sheffield FC Ladies: Draycott; Ward, Murphy, Gilliatt; Lipman, McCue, Dale, Flint; Jones, Makin, Cain. Subs: Lord-Mears, Dixon, Johnson, Wallhead, Jackson, Cox, Owen.