Nat Gutteridge: Job done with Durham's top-four finish
The Wildcats beat Millwall 2-1 to end their season on a high and finish fourth in FA WSL 2
FA WSL 2 match
14:00, Sunday 6 November 2016
New Ferens Park
Durham Women FC Goal Scorers: Gutteridge 32', Hepple 43'
Millwall Lionesses Goal Scorers: Gaylor 90+2'
Nat Gutteridge claims it was mission accomplished as Durham ended their season on a high by beating Millwall Lionesses – sealing their place in the top four of FA Women’s Super League 2.
On a bitterly cold day in the North East, the home side set about their task and were two to the good by half-time, Gutteridge netting in the 32nd minute before Beth Hepple doubled the lead ten minutes later.
There was some late consolation for the London side as Amber Gaylor smashed home in stoppage time but Gutteridge was ecstatic to have helped the Wildcats earn a tenth league win of the campaign.
“It was scrappy at times but we have got the win to end the season on a bit of a high,” said the midfielder. “I don’t think we were ever under much pressure.
“They have come and given us a good game but Aldo [Helen Alderson] hasn’t had much to do in goal. “I have had a bit of a spell of not scoring but I got a goal last week and managed to get another one here. It’s nice to get on the scoresheet again.
“At the beginning of the season we set the target of the top four and we have achieved that.
“We did have an opportunity to get into the top two and that made it exciting toward the end of the season but we don’t want to be too disappointed as we have achieved our target and I think that is the most important thing.”
Gutteridge was on hand to find the bottom corner from six yards just after the half-hour mark following an accurate Nicola Gibson cutback from the right.
Hepple, who had been involved in the build up to that goal, wouldn’t be denied a spot on the scoresheet, running off her marker before lashing an unstoppable effort across goal and into the far corner from the edge of the box.
In a game of few clear chances, Hepple put a second-half penalty over the bar before, with one of the last kicks of the game, Gaylor collected Ashlee Hincks’ pass across the box to fire into the net for the visitors.
And after ending the season eighth in the table, Hincks believes the Lionesses can take heart from what Durham achieved this year.
“If you look where Durham have been over the last two seasons they are a team we are wanting to match next season,” explained the striker.
“Teams in the bottom half can turn it around in the space of pre-season. They are a perfect example of that and we will be looking to follow in their footsteps and go for promotion and not be happy to just plod along in mid-table.
“In the first half we weren’t good but we dominated the second half and are disappointed to lose – I think we were unfortunate not to get a draw.
“It was just two mistakes that led to the goals. We had the majority of the ball in the final third but we just didn’t use it well enough. Overall I think the result should have been a draw.”
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Gutteridge 32, Hepple 42
Millwall Lionesses 1
Durham Women (4-5-1):Helen Alderson; Ellie Christon, Sarah Wilson, Becky Salicki, Annabel Johnson; Jordan Atkinson, Nicola Gibson, Sarah McFadden, Beth Hepple, Emily Roberts; Nat Gutteridge.
Substitutes: Rachel Lee for Gutteridge 59, Tyler Dodds for Atkinson 62, Chloe Macek for McFadden 85.
Substitutes not used: Megan Borthwick, Mercy Darkoah.
Millwall Lionesses (4-4-2):Sarah Quantrill; Leanne Cowan, Billie Brooks, Leighanne Robe, Ocean Rowlandsen; Megan Wynne, Bonnie Horwood, Leigh Nicol, Georgie Giddings; Amber Gaylor, Ashlee Hincks.
Substitutes: Beth Harford for Giddings 59, Megan Jones for Rowlandsen 80.
Substitutes not used:Jordan Butler, Sindi Kanto.
Referee: Helen Conley