Durham Women fell to defeat away at league leaders Southampton in their return to Barclays Women’s Championship action.
Rianna Dean’s brace either side of Eleanor Ryan-Doyle’s leveller secured victory for the hosts – with the striker denied a hat-trick by Tatiana Saunders’ penalty save.
Buoyed by their midweek win over Blackburn in the FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup, Durham began brightly and had the first real chance when Mollie Lambert volleyed wide after Becky Salicki’s cross was only half-cleared.
But within a minute, the visitors found themselves behind.
Lexi Lloyd-Smith’s fine through ball set Ella Morris away and, while Saunders repelled her initial strike, Dean was on the spot to slot home the rebound.
From that point on, however, the first half was pretty much one-way traffic as Durham laid siege on the home goal.
Amy Andrews saw a strike from range held by home stopper Kayla Rendell before the forward was somehow prevented from sliding home Lambert’s low centre by last-ditch Southampton defending.
Saoirse Noonan then saw an effort come crashing off the woodwork after taking down Sarah Wilson’s long ball as Durham piled on the pressure.
And the Irish international would play a key role when a deserved leveller eventually came – nodding down Salicki’s delivery into the path of Ryan-Doyle who bundled home.
Parity lasted only four minutes, through, as Dean clinically volleyed home from a quickly-taken corner to restore Southampton’s lead.
From there on, the Saints managed the game well and restricted Durham to only half-chances.
Indeed, they could have extended their advantage on 70 minutes after Dean was felled in the box – but Saunders spectacularly pushed away her spot-kick.
The Durham ‘keeper made another smart stop from Paige Peake moments later, before Rendell denied Robson’s prodded effort in Durham’s best chance of the half.
And despite some last pressure from the Blues, Southampton held on to retain their place at the summit of the Barclays Women’s Championship.
|October 15, 2023||12:00 pm||BWC||2023_24||90'|