The Bees put in an improved performance during yesterday’s FA Women’s Championship clash with Durham, but the league leaders came from behind to snatch the points at The Hive London.
The FAWC table-toppers came flying out of the traps and almost took the lead in the opening ten minutes as Gears darted through on goal but flashed her effort wide of the left-hand post, perhaps via the fingertips of Sarah Quantrill.
The Bees more than matched their opponents in the opening 15 minutes of the clash, albeit without being able to create that clear cut opportunity. The Wildcats stood firm as the Bees looked to find a confidence-boosting opening goal, whilst up the other end Quantrill had to be alert to save from Salicki.
Lee Burch’s side took the lead in incredible fashion on the 19th minute, as Charlie Estcourt fired in a free-kick from 22 yards into the top corner of the net. It was the Welsh internationals first goal for the Club and what a way it was for the midfielder to open her Bees account.
However, Durham immediately hit back and levelled the scores just 90 seconds later, as a corner led to a six-yard box scramble, with the ball eventually finding it’s way into the net. It was far from clear who got the final touch with so many bodies in the six-yard area. It was a cruel blow to the Bees, who had done well to get themselves ahead in the match.
With 11 minutes to go before the break, Estcourt almost doubled her tally for the afternoon, but this time her free-kick skimmed the roof of the net on its way over the crossbar. The Bees continued to restrict the usually free-scoring Durham to half chances at best as the teams headed in for half time.
Nine minutes into the second half, it was Durham who took the lead as a nice move from the visitors was neatly finished by Sharpe. Six minutes after falling behind, the Bees had Quantrill to thank as she made a big stop one vs one against Durham’s top scorer Beth Hepple.
From that point onwards, the Bees dominated proceedings, having large amounts of the possession and pinning back the league leaders at The Hive London. Burch’s side were on the front foot, but the experienced Durham backline continued to restrict us to limited chances on goal.
The Bees biggest chance to snatch what would have been a deserved point came 11 minutes from time as second-half sub Lauren Pickett left her player on her backside before forcing Borthwick into a good stop at her near post.
As time wore on the Bees chucked everyone forward in the hope of securing a first point of the season, but Durham saw the game out expertly to ensure they headed back to the North-East with all three points and continued their unbeaten start to the Championship season.
Burch’s side will now have to attack November, in what is set to be a crucial point of the FA Women’s Championship season as they face the likes of Charlton, Blackburn and Lewes in the next six weeks.
Bees: Quantrill, West, Robert, Taho (Pickett 64′), Nunn (Filis 75′), McLean (Hazard 64′), Gibson, Estcourt, Gamby, Will (C) (Gould 83′), Gane.
Subs not used: Hazelton (GK), Giddings, Constantine, Finburgh.
Merrick Will’s thoughts on the game (Speaking to The FA):
“I think we have to look at the performance more than the result.
“We were raring to go and knew the way they wanted to play, and I think we matched that for the large percentage of the game.
“It also showed in their performance and the way they reacted. We definitely think we ruffled some feathers in their camp.
“In the first half, we played quite well and did exactly what we set out to do. We came out in the second half on the front foot and got going.
“The game didn’t go our way, the final balls and shots went off target. It’s an area we have to work on which is improving the quality of our final third.
“If we get that sorted, we will start to test teams in the coming weeks.”
Lee Burch’s reaction:
You can hear the boss’ thoughts via our official YouTube channel, by clicking HERE.