Durham have started life at their new Maiden Castle facility with a 3-0 victory over Lewes in the FA Women’s Championship.
A late flurry of goals saw Beth Hepple net twice and Emily Roberts hit a screamer as Lee Sanders’ side notched their first win of the season.
The first half was a hard-fought contest which saw Durham enjoy more of the attacking play but Lewes defended resolutely.
It was the visitors who had the first real shot of the match when Filippa Savva fired an effort from 20 yards straight at Durham keeper Megan Borthwick.
Emily Roberts headed an early chance wide for Durham before Molly Sharpe tested debutant Lewes keeper Tatiana Saunders with a low effort.
The best chance of the half came the way of Durham two minutes before the break. Ellie Christon struck a sweet shot from the edge of the box and Sanders was beaten but unfortunately for the hosts, the ball cannoned off the crossbar.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between in the second half and the game threatened to end in a stalemate. Sharpe got an awkward shot away which was gathered by Saunders before Lewes substitute Emma Jones’ vicious strike may have been sneaking in, only for Borthwick to push the ball around the post.
The match-changing moment came 10 minutes from time when Lewes right-back Sammy Quayle was harshly adjudged to have brought down Abby Holmes in the area. Hepple stepped up to take the resulting penalty kick and successfully slotted home to hand Durham the lead.
It was Hepple who again struck in second half stoppage time when her corner kick caused chaos in the Lewes six-yard box and went straight in before Roberts gift-wrapped the three points for The Wildcats, curling a superb effort into the top corner of the net from 20 yards.
The two sides will be back in action again after the international break. Durham host the London City Lionesses while Lewes will face Coventry United at The Dripping Pan.