Spartans had to fight their way back in the first half after going a goal down through a Beth Hepple strike. However the home side were all square as Elliss Jenkins scored her first goal of her Spartans career. Durham regained the lead half way through the second half with Debbie Stansmore tapping the ball home. But again their lead was cut short as a minute later as a deflected Rebecca Zoltie strike got the home side back on level terms. With only 15 minutes remaining a thunderbolt strike from Katie Reilly sealed the victory for Spartans in a tightly fought match.
Straight from Kick off Spartans fullback Bobbie Beveridge flew down the right-wing and played the ball through to Louise Mason whose cross just missed the unmarked Trisha McLaughlin who was charging into the box.
A minute later and again Spartans came close to opening the scoring as Rebecca Zoltie fire a fierce left foot shot that flew over the bar. Captain Louise Young played a cross field ball to Ashley Nicolson who clipped the ball down the wing to McLaughlin. After cutting inside her marker McLaughlin fired over a cross to Sarah Ewens who, with one touch, chested the ball into the path of Zoltie but her drive went over the Durham crossbar.
Durham’s first sight on goal came after ten minutes when Beth Jennings shot wide of the Spartans left hand goal. Lauren Briggs won the ball 20 yards from goal and played the ball through to Jennings who, after steadying herself, fired a bulleted right foot drive but wide of the mark.
Five minutes later Jennings again came close to scoring the opening goal as she picked the ball up inside the Spartans half and, after driving forward, left fly with a crashing right foot drive that sailed wide of the left hand post.
Durham did get their just rewards on 22 minutes with Beth Hepple heading home from six yards out. Becky Hanratty drove down the right-wing and as she reached the bye-line she fired over a cross to the far post where Hepple, unmarked, headed the ball home past the helpless Charlene Lessells.
However with only four minutes to go before half time Spartans got their equaliser with Jenkins firing home from four yards out. Zoltie played the ball through to Jenkins who fired a shot towards goal only to see the keeper pull off a great save. However the rebound went to the Spartans forward and this time Jenkins slotted the ball home.
With the weather taking a turn for the worse it took until the 65 th minute for the first chance of the second period and it fell to the visitors. Briggs broke clear of the Spartans defence and fed the ball to Kim O’Connor who fired in a fierce shot that was saved by Lessells. However the ball broke clear to Stansmore who fired the ball into an empty net.
Within a minute Spartans were level again as a Zoltie shot deflected off a Durham defender and into the back of the net. Spartans corner was taken short before being swung into the near post where Zoltie, after controlling with her left foot, fired in a right foot shot that spun off a Durham defender
and into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Minutes later and the Durham Keeper pulled off a great double save to deny the home side the lead with shots from Diana Barry and Ewens both being stopped by the industrious Emma Morris.
However this was just a warning shot and moments later Spartans gained the advantage with a thunderous Katie Reilly shot nestling into the top corner. Reilly picked the ball up just inside the Durham half and, after stepping inside a challenge, fired an unstoppable right foot shot into the top right hand corner of the net.
Durham did have one last chance in the dying minutes to equalise however a goal line clearance by Sarah Archibald sealed the victory for the home side. Hepple created space inside the Spartans box and, as the keeper came out to narrow the angle the forward took the ball around her only to see her shot towards goal cleared by the Spartans centre-half.
Spartans: Charlene Lessells, Ashley Nicolson, Claire Crosbie, Bobbie Beveridge, Louise Moultray, Louise Young, Rebecca Zoltie, Diana Barry, Louise Mason, Trisha McLaughlin, Sarah Ewens.
Subs: Katie Reilly, Elliss Jenkins, Nichola Sturrock, Ann Taylor, Becky Galbraith, Sarah Archibald, Lynsey Cowan
South Durham Cestria: Emma Morris, Jen Jennings, Lauren Briggs, Lauren Jordins, Becky Hanratty, Beth Heppie, Kim O’Connor, Caz Ross, Macy Lawson, Debbie Stansmore, Beth Jennings.
Sub: Gaby Burns
Referee: Emma Hingant
Written by Edmund Brown