James Powell

The Wildcats signed off their away travels in style with a comprehensive victory over Watford Ladies.

Having fallen behind to an early Ellie Mason penalty, Durham rallied and netted three times in the final six minutes of the second half - Nat Gutteridge, Beth Hepple and Emily Roberts finding the back of the net.

The goals continued to flow after the interval too, as Nicola Gibson scored a brace before substitute Mercy Darkoah rounded off the scoring. 

Lee Sanders made two changes from the side that lost to Everton as Annabel Johnson and Nicola Gibson came in for Chloe Macek and Sarah McFadden.

But the Wildcats got off to the worst possible start, falling behind after only ten minutes as Helen Alderson felled Watford skipper Anneka Nuttall before Mason converted the resultant penalty.

Durham pushed forward in search of an equaliser and somehow didn't level things up after Roberts saw an acrobatic effort cannon back off the crossbar with Rachel Lee's follow-up cleared off the line.

Parity was restored three minutes before the interval as a cleverly-worked set piece routine paid off with Gutteridge the beneficiary - nodding home at the far post.

And a minute later, the Wildcats were ahead as Gutteridge flicked on a Becky Salicki long ball with Hepple bursting into the area and firing home.

Roberts then added a third in injury time as she saw her curling effort from the edge of the area creep in.

The momentum continued after the break with Durham pressing forward at every opportunity.

A combination of post and goalkeeper denied Rachel Lee after she had connected with a free-kick, before a similar situation saw the visitors net a fourth as Gibson climbed highest to head home a Hepple delivery.

And the midfielder added her second of the afternoon moments later, capitalising after the hosts failed to clear a corner and volleying home.

This proved to be her last contribution as she was replaced by Mercy Darkoah, with the substitute able to make an immediate impact as she danced through the Watford backline before curling home from close range.

Despite some late pressure from the hosts, the Wildcats were able to see out a comprehensive victory which secures their aim of a top four finish.

Durham: Alderson (Borthwick); Christon, Johnson, Wilson, Salicki; Lee, Gibson (Darkoah), Hepple; Roberts, Atkinson, Gutteridge (Dodds)

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