Sunday 12 February 2017

McFadden lifts Durham to opening win in Spring Series

The Wildcats down Millwall 1-0 at New Ferens Park to kick off their FAWSL Spring Series campaign

FA WSL 2 match
12:00, Sunday 12 February 2017
New Ferens Park

Durham began the FAWSL 2 Spring Series with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Millwall courtesy of Sarah McFadden’s first-half strike.

On a bitterly cold afternoon, which hardly felt like Spring, McFadden proved the difference between the sides, the Durham midfielder netting the winner in the 38th minute.

Both sides settled into a sedate opening to the contest, with Beth Hepple forcing a couple of comfortable saves from Millwall stopper Sarah Quantrill.

On a rain soaked afternoon, it took until the just before the interval for the hosts to give their support something to cheer, when McFadden registered her third of the season.

The midfielder rose highest to meet a Hepple corner and nod against the bar. She reacted quickest to the rebound however to put her side ahead.

Millwall had been solid, skipper Ashlee Hincks scoring from an offside position, but went in at the interval trailing.

Chances were more forthcoming in the second half, with Durham keeper Helen Alderson pushing a low curling Hincks effort to safety in the 70th minute, before she reacted smartly two minutes later to tip a dipping half volley from Amber Gaylor on to the bar.

But there was no way back for the visitors, with Durham’s Becky Salicki heading just wide as the home team threatened to score again.

Durham goalscorer Sarah McFadden said: 

It was a scrappy battle, with the weather conditions it was going to be.

“Every time we play Millwall it is always the same thing, it is always very close, there is never a time when either team runs away with it so we knew it was going to be very close before we even started. It’s nice to score but it’s nicer to win.

“It is a long time to wait for a season to start. At least it is competitive. It is a development thing, so at least we have six months where we can do things which we wouldn’t have done before because there is no promotion or relegation so there is less pressure and that can build into the main season.

“It is only when you start playing games like today that you find out about your squad.”

Millwall skipper Ashlee Hincks said:

“I think the first half we weren’t really at the races but in the second half we completely dominated. “With the chances we had, their keeper kept them in it. I think a draw would have been a fair result, if not us winning.

“We have to try to take the positives from our second-half performance. We were really confident heading in to today. It is frustrating. We can’t seem to get that goal.

“We’re hoping it will come. You can see the chances we had in the second half which we should be doing better with.”

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Durham Wildcats 1

McFadden 38

Millwall Lionesses 0

Durham (4-3-3):Helen Alderson; Ellie Christon, Sarah Wilson, Becky Salicki, Jen Jennings; Sarah McFadden, Rachel Lee, Beth Hepple; Jordan Atkinson, Zoe Ness, Emily Roberts.

Substitutes: Nat Gutteridge for Atkinson 65

Substitutes not used:Annabel Johnson, Nicola Gibson, Megan Borthwick, Tyler Dodds.

Bookings:Wilson 27

Red Cards:None

Millwall (3-5-2):Sarah Quantrill; Georgie Giddings, Billie Brooks, Leighanne Robe; Bonnie Horwood, Megan Wynne, Leigh Nicol, Ellie Mason, Phoebe Read; Amber Gaylor, Ashlee Hincks.

Substitutes:Ella Rutherford for Horwood 56, Jordan Butler for Brooks 62, Brionne Fowle for Read75.

Substitutes not used:

Bookings:Gaylor 52

Red Cards:None

Referee:Rebecca Welch