Durham Women secured their place in the Fourth Round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup with a comfortable win over Leeds United.
The Wildcats were dominant at Tadcaster Albion and secured victory courtesy of braces from Bridget Galloway, Mollie Lambert and Beth Hepple.
It could have been more too, with Durham impressive throughout.
After an impressive performance at top-tier side Everton last weekend, the visitors began brightly as they looked to carry that momentum forward.
And while the Wildcats saw plenty of the ball early on, they failed to fashion any major chances in the opening exchanges as Leeds defended resolutely.
Indeed, it took until the 14th minute for the first real chance of the game – home stopper Lauren Joyce coming out to block Hepple’s effort as she looked to slot home after latching onto a through ball.
The Whites were a threat on the break and Abbie Brown warmed the palms of Megan Borthwick with a well-struck free-kick, as they continued to remain strong at the back.
But their resilience was broken ten minutes before half-time.
After Hepple saw an effort from the edge of the area strike the crossbar, Galloway reacted quickest to chest the ball home from close range.
And four minutes later, Durham would double their lead.
A well-weighted pass from Emily Roberts set Mollie Lambert away and she kept her cool to slot past Joyce.
Those quick-fire goals sparked Durham into life, and the home ‘keeper did well to palm Hepple’s half-volley wide as the Wildcats poured forward.
But a third goal would come before the break – Hepple firing home a fine penalty after Ellie Christon saw her run brought to an abrupt halt inside the area.
Durham picked up where they left off after the break and laid siege on the Leeds United goal.
Lambert was denied by Joyce early on and Danielle Brown flashed an effort narrowly wide as the visitors continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession.
It would be Galloway who netted the game’s next goal though, and it owed much to the fine work of Roberts who saw off the attentions of four home players before getting her shot away.
And while the winger’s effort was deflected, Galloway was on hand to smash home.
The Wildcats refused to rest on their laurels though, and continued to press forward.
Dee Bradley sent a header narrowly wide from a corner before Brown hit the side netting after a mazy run.
Leeds did come close to pulling a goal back when Aaliyah Nolan was played through on goal, but her strike dropped just the wrong side of the post.
The introductions of Abby Holmes and Lily Crosthwaite gave Durham further attacking impetus, and the former would have a part to play in the fifth goal.
Her pass found Hepple in space and the midfielder cut inside before teeing-up Lambert, who stroked the ball into the top corner from 20 yards.
A sixth would follow shortly after and it was arguably the pick of the bunch as Hepple executed a stunning strike into the top corner after receiving a throw-in.
Roberts then saw a shot fly over the bar and Lambert was denied a hat-trick by a timely goalline clearance as Durham kept up the pressure.
Hepple almost secured a treble late on, only for Joyce’s point-blank stop to somehow keep her at bay, but six goals were enough to seal Durham’s progression.
Leeds W v Durham W
|December 12, 2021||1:00 pm||FA Cup||2021_2022||0'|