Durham Women fell to defeat at table-topping Bristol City.
An own goal set the Robins on their way before second half strikes from Gracie Pearse and Grace Clinton sealed the win.
The visitors were put under some early pressure, but grew into the clash – and started to carve out the better of the chances.
Georgia Robert sent an arrowed drive over the bar before a slick passing move ended in Lauren Briggs being denied by Fran Bentley.
While Bristol saw plenty of the ball, they struggled to seriously test Naoisha McAloon with the defensive unit doing their job.
And Durham continued to threaten on the break – with Mollie Lambert agonisingly close to turning home a Saoirse Noonan cross.
But in injury time, the hosts struck against the run of play.
It was a goal that came with its fair share of luck, as Becky Salicki’s clearance looped into the one place where McAloon couldn’t reach it.
But that didn’t deter Durham who started the second half brightly, with only a brave block stopping Beth Hepple from converting after a slick move.
Abi Harrison then sent a powerful effort narrowly wide before Briggs saw a goalbound effort deflected wide.
Bristol then began to stamp their authority on the game and they netted a second when Pearse smashed home after a scramble from a corner.
McAloon then had to make two stunning saves to keep the deficit to two, clawing Harrison’s curler out the top corner before denying Shania Hayles when one-on-one – with Clinton then firing over the follow-up.
Maria Farrugia came close to getting Durham back into the game with a low drive that Bentley did well to turn behind.
But a third would come for the hosts when McAloon denied Clinton at point-blank range before the loanee turned home on the rebound.
Durham finished strongly with a raft of substitutes adding some extra energy to the side, but they couldn’t find a consolation goal against a stubborn Bristol backline.
And the Robins almost had a fourth late on as McAloon first impressively denied Harrison before Brooke Aspin headed the subsequent header against the bar.
Bristol City W vs Durham W
|March 12, 2023||2:00 pm||BWC||2022_2023||90'|