Durham ensured it was another miserable night in the Continental Cup for Manchester United as they edged out their opponents 3-1 on penalties at Maiden Castle.
Goals from Jade Moore and Vilde Boe Rise looked to have cancelled Jess Clarke’s first half equaliser for the Championship outfit. However, an injury time leveller from Sarah Robson forced the game into a penalty shootout.
Red Devils head coach Marc Skinner opted to rest both Ella Toone and Mary Earps as he handed starts to both Sophie Baggaley and Hayley Ladd. For Durham, they were recalls for both Mollie Lambert and Bridget Galloway.
McAloon, Robert, Lambert (Noonan 81), Robson, Hepple, Farrugia (Hardy 72), Galloway, Salicki (Ayre 83), Bradley, Christon, Clarke (Crosthwaite 72)
Baggaley, Thorisdottir, Moore (Zelem 64), Boe Rise, Thomas, Ladd, Le Tissier, Leon, Tounkara, Turner, Williams (Parris 75)Embed from Getty Images
Fiery first half
A frantic start to evening saw the away side go closest to opening the scoring when the lively Rachel Williams spearheaded a dangerous counter-attack and played a neat one-two with Boe Risa. But her shot flew wide of Naoisha McAloon’s post.
A Maya Le Tissier free-kick just after the 20 minute mark saw Martha Thomas goes close, with her header whistling narrowly wide of the Durham post.
United broke Durham’s resistance shortly afterwards though when they failed to clear a corner and the ball dropped to Moore who blasted home a lovely left footed volley.
Shortly after, Williams found herself through on goal just before half-time but McAloon did well to bravely save the ball at her feet and stop her tapping into an empty net.
Much to the delight of the home crowd, Durham went level right on the whistle through former Liverpool player Clarke, who got the deftest of touches to Beth Hepple’s diagonal free kick.Embed from Getty Images
Durham spark sensational Continental Cup comeback
On 55 minutes, great work from Mollie Lambert almost put Durham into the lead. She won the ball after good pressing before crossing for Galloway who almost poked beyond Baggaley.
Just after the hour mark though, the introduction of captain Katie Zelem made an immediate impact.
The midfielder’s defence splitting pass cut apart the Wildcats defence and, just as they thought they’d cleared it, Boe Risa finished wonderfully to get United’s second.Embed from Getty Images
The goal wouldn’t deter the home side though. They continued to push for a late equaliser with substitute Rio Hardy drawing out a decent save from Baggaley.
Hardy went close again with just six minutes to play when she held off Turner to fashion a chance. But her shot from the edge of the box was held firm.
Durham were dealt a blow when they went down to 10 just as they were getting on top. Substitute Saoirse Noonan unable to play on after taking a knock.
Just as it looked like United were set to move top of their Continental Cup group, Robson headed home Hepple’s corner deep into injury time.
But the night would only get better for the North East side. Hepple, Hardy and Galloway all tucked home from the spot, while a succession of Zelem, Turner and Le Tissier misses handed Durham the win.