Women's Report: Durham 0-0 Saints


Saints and Durham shared the spoils in an entertaining encounter at Maiden Castle in the Barclays Women’s Championship.

Saints and Durham both had opportunities in the first half, with Megan Wynne, Sophia Pharoah and Katie Wilkinson looking the most threatening for the travelling side.

Durham threw everything at Saints in the opening stages of the second half, with Marieanne Spacey-Cale's side lucky to keep a clean sheet during the bombardment.

Despite the opportunities for both sides, it was an entertaining sharing of the points at a frosty Maiden Castle.

With games across the country falling foul to frozen pitches, both sides looked to beat the cold with a fast start.

Saints piled on the pressure in the opening five minutes, with Wynne and Pharoah linking up well to pen in the Durham defence early, but without being able to fashion a real chance.

Durham were gifted an opportunity in the seventh minute as Milly Mott struggled to contain Saoirse Noonan down the left-hand side, giving away a foul close to the corner flag. A combination of Laura Rafferty and Rosie Parnell were called into action to clear.

Saints started to show more quality on the ball following the scare, and there was an audible intake of breath from the travelling Saints contingent in the 15th minute as Pharoah looked to be through on goal, ready to slot home, only to see the flag raised on the far side.

There was end to end action as the clock ticked past 20 minutes. Paige Peake nutmegged her player before some neat play saw Pharoah control with her back to goal. Durham did well to tackle the Saints player before launching their own offensive, culminating in a skidding shot that was well held by Rendell.

Wynne was visibly frustrated minutes later as a well weighted Wilkinson cross from the right-hand side fell to the winger, her stretching shot well saved by Naoisha McAloon.

Saints began to find their strike as the half wore on, with Pharoah going close twice more only to see the flag raised for both.

Despite their neat play, it was nearly a nightmare end to the half for Saints, as Mollie Lambert jinxed into the box and unleashed a ferocious shot narrowly wide of the far post.

A strong half with plenty of half chances for Saints, but Durham wouldn’t be shy at taking their own.

It was Durham with the first chance of the second half, as they worked the ball forward from the midfield, before Saoirse Noonan shot wide.

Saints looked to fashion their own chance early in the second half, with Parnell and Peake unleashing Wynne down the wing, before she was brought down by Grace Ayre, who received a yellow for the challenge.

This was followed by Durham onslaught, as a nervous five minutes saw Saints unable to get out of their own half, clearing cross after cross, and being lucky not to concede.

With tensions high, loose challenges were starting to fly in, and captain Parnell was shown a yellow in the 60th minute for dissent after one such occasion.

Another foul on the workhorse Wynne allowed Saints an opportunity to get back into the game, and Wilkinson was unlucky to have the ball taken off her head at the back post.

A melee in the box saw Saints denied twice in quick succession minutes later, as Pharoah had a close range shot blocked, before Kendall locked onto the rebound only to see her strike deflected wide.

Megan Collett was the first change for Marieanne Spacey-Cale, providing some fresh legs in defence and on the break, replacing Peake.

Miscommunication between Mott and Alice Griffiths in the 80th minute saw Durham surge forward two-on-one but an impressive recovery run from Collett was enough to prevent a real chance for the home side.

Experienced Leeta Rutherford was brought into the fray in the 82nd minute, replacing Pharoah, as Saints continued to absorb the majority of the pressure.

There was a glimmer of hope for all three points as Wilkinson drew a foul just before the 90 and Kendall delivered a whipped ball across the box, but to the frustration of the Saints side, no one could make any meaningful contact and the ball trickled out for a goal kick.

A close game with both sides creating opportunities in front of goal, but the result becomes Saints' first 0-0 of the season as they look to continue their strong maiden season in the Barclays Women's Championship.