Durham Women 1-0 Sheffield FC: Gutterdige's late winner keeps Wildcats in touch at the top

The hosts were victorious by a 1-0 scoreline at New Ferrens Park.

Durham Women 1-0 Sheffield FC: Gutterdige's late winner keeps Wildcats in touch at the top
Durham recorded a slender win on Thursday night. (Photo: Durham WFC)
1 0
Sheffield FC
Durham: Alderson, Lee, McFadden, Hepple, Dodds, Gutteridge, Atkinson, Salicki, Christson, Macek.
Sheffield FC: Draycott, McCue, Murphy, Cox, Gilliat, Dale, Michalska, Ward, Lord-Mears, Lipman, Knight.
SCORE: 1-0, min. 83, Gutteridge.
REFEREE: Booked, Gilliat (min. 21), Wilson (min. 21), McCue (min. 40).
INCIDENTS: English Women's Super League 2 match between Durham Women and Sheffield Ladies. The match was played at New Ferrens Park, Durham, in front of 369 spectators.

Natalie Gutteridge's late winner was enough for Durham Women to see off Sheffield FC and keep pace with the WSL 2 leaders.

Gutteridge does it again

Once again this season, Durham have striker Gutteridge to thank for securing them a positive result in the early stages of their WSL 2 campaign. The local born striker grabbed her sixth goal of the season seven minutes from time to make it four wins out of five in the league this year for the Wildcats.

It certainly wasn't one of the prettiest goals you'll see but I doubt manager Andy Thorpe and his players cared too much. A corner was whipped in from the left and Sheffield goalkeeper Julianna Draycott struggled to deal with the bodies around her in the six yard box, with the ball popping up in the air where Gutteridge was there to meet it with a close ranger header into an empty net with the keeper downed.

Against the run of play?

Sheffield came into this game without a win in four WSL 2 games and they can count themselves unlucky to have left the North East with that tag still against their name, never mind without anything at all. The girls from the steel city were winners in all the stats, with more of the ball and the most shots on goal, but they struggled to create clear cut chances.

Sheffield eventually started to get some joy in the final quarter of the match as they came really close on two occasions. The first was with the score still at 0-0 as substitute Chelsea Flannagan struck the bar. Durham keeper Helen Alderson needed three punches to get the ball away, but the ball only fell for Flannagan on her right foot, however she couldn't keep the volley down as it flicked off the top of the bar.

Helen Mitchell's side then went even closer to scoring in the second minute of stoppage time, again through a substitute. This time it was Hannah Cain who was denied. More good work from Flannagan on the left side of the box saw her find Cain on the right side, who sorted her feet out before trying to place one left footed, only to be denied by the outstretched left foot of Alderson.

Woodwork takes a hammering 

In addition to Flannagan's second half effort for the visitors, Durham also rattled the bar.

It was something out of nothing really. Just five minutes into the second period, a poor Sheffield clearance found Beth Hepple on the edge of the box, and without a thought she shot first time with her left foot, only to see the ball cannon off the frame of the goal.

A real physical battle

To be honest, it's amazing how there were only three yellow cards handed out in this game as it was a real full blooded affair between two teams who were meeting for the third time this season.

The referee perhaps justifiably decided to let a lot of late and perhaps dangerous challenges go, as she instead decided to have a few long warning chats with players on both sides.

Durham emerged victorious from the battle though, and it's a huge win for them as they move within a point of the WSL 2 summit, while Sheffield remain without a win.