Durham recorded their third win at Maiden Castle as they swept aside Lewes 2-0 with first-half goals from Ellie Christon and Bridget Galloway enough to seal all three points and secure top spot.
The hosts were utterly dominant from the very first to the last kick of the game, pinning their opponents about and moving the ball across the pitch fantastically.
The Wildcats could have had more with chances from Salicki and Hepple narrowly letting Lewes off the hook with a far more favourable scoreline.
Durham dominate Lewes from start to finish
The hosts took the lead after 15 minutes through Ellie Christon.
Bridget Galloway doubled the hosts’ lead five minutes before the break.
It was an utterly dominant start by the hosts who enjoyed the majority of possession, but it was a cross that saw them unlock Lewes’ defence.
A cross from Lauren Briggs was met by Beth Hepple who outjumped the centre back and flicked onto Christon who took a touch at the back post before firing home.
For all of Durham’s dominance, they struggled to open up a tough Lewes defence, but the threat of Galloway running in behind was testing the visitors.
The hosts did finally given themselves some breathing room when Robson met Hepple’s corner, only for it to be blocked and land kindly at the feet of Galloway who tucked it home right on the stroke of halftime.
A slow second half as Lewes struggle to get going
The first action of the second half came just on the hour mark and saw Salicki get on the end of Hepple’s deep corner but somehow didn’t manage to turn the ball home unmarked.
With 15 minutes left, Lewes came close to testing Borthwick when Hazard unleashed a strike from 30-yards but whistled just over the bar although it did have Durham’s keeper back peddling.
There had not been a single shot on target from either side in the second half but both came extremely close to finding the back of the net with just 15 minutes left to play.
Lewes first raced through with Balfour but she got her half volley all wrong and it failed to trouble Brothwick.
The Wildcats then went straight up the other end and as the ball was bouncing 25-yards out, Hepple attempted a stunning no-look lob and with Salgado miles off her line she could only stand and watch. Luckily for the keeper, it crashed back out off the bar.
Player of the match – Dee Bradley
The midfielder was simply fantastic against Lewes. She dominated the ball and kept things ticking over in midfield and also put in some strong and important tackles as she continued to impose herself through the game.
Despite picking up a booking early on, that didn’t stop her from challenging for every ball and not shying away from a tackle. Her ability and awareness on the ball was a level above everyone else’s against Lewes, she just seemed to know what was going to happen two or three passes before anyone else.