Durham 2-1 Watford: First half dominance gives Wildcats dream start

(Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

In what was a hard-fought season opener, Durham made their first-half dominance count as a 45th-minute finish from Beth Hepple was enough to secure all three points against newly-promoted Watford.

It was an encouraging and bright start from the home side as they pressed and pinned Watford into their own half and using the ball very well and intelligently.

Durham almost capitalised on a dominant start as Robson pounced on a loose free-kick but her shot from the edge of the box whistled over the bar after 10 minutes.

Briggs puts Durham ahead

The Wildcats’ early pressure paid off as Beth Hepple curled an effort from the corner of the box but saw it crash off the bar and back out to Lauren Briggs who slotted home on the half volley.

It was almost a second for Briggs minutes later as she charged down Ferguson in the Watford goal and the Durham winger saw the clearance cannon off her and behind for a goal kick.

Ejupi was played through by Hepple and tried her luck first time from the corner of the box and despite a lot of power behind her shot, it could only sting Ferguson’s palms.

On the stroke of half-time, Durham made their dominance count as they doubled their lead through Hepple.

Hepple doubles Durham’s lead

It was great work from Roberts who won the ball in Watford’s final third before Robson broke into the box and squared to Hepple who tapped home at the back posy into an empty net.

The home side were utterly dominant in the opening 45 minutes as they kept the ball superbly well and showed their experience and talent at this level.

The first action of the second half saw the ball fall to Ejupi inside the box but after taking the shot first time on the turn, it was scuffed goalward and saved easily by Ferguson.

The front three of Ejupi, Hepple and Briggs continued to cause problems in the second half with the former flicking on to Briggs who cut inside from the left a flashed a shot just wide of the near post.

Completely against the run of play as Fyfe latched onto a long ball from the back and lobbed Borthwick from 25-yards, a stunning goal from the visitors which put them right back in the match.

Watford fight back

Watford started to increase the pressure following their goal, putting Durham under a lot of pressure which saw Henson force a smart low save from Borthwick at her near post.

The visitors came saw close to levelling things up as a deep corner was met by Miewald but she could only see her effort cannon back out off the post and the follow-up effort went out for a goal kick which was a huge let-off for Durham.

It was certainly a game of two halves as Durham looked miles better in the first 45 before Watford stepped up their game after halftime and may argue that should’ve taken a point from the game.

Player of the match

A match that will have thrilled the returning supporters as they got to see a stunning possession and attack-minded game which saw Amber Stobbs and Beth Hepple flourish.

However, it was Lauren Briggs that really shone. She was constantly wanting to beat the defence which gave the Golden Girls a nightmare especially in the first half.

Briggs netted the first goal of the season as he got herself in a striker position to tap home an easy goal and she fully deserved the goal for the way she took the game by the scruff of its neck.

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