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Durham Women 2 (Ness 50, Dixon pen 86) Sunderland 4 (Joice 27, Greenwell 44, Mead pen 69, Wilson 78)
Sunderland made a winning start to their FA Women's Super League 2 campaign, but satisfaction at their victory over north east rivals Durham Women was tempered by a nasty injury to goalkeeper Rachael Laws.
Laws, who spent some of last season on loan at WSL champions Liverpool, was stretchered off before the break after coming off worse from a heavy challenge with Beth Jennings.
The injury was the only sour note on an otherwise successful night for Sunderland, who lived up to their billing as one of the pre-season promotion favourites.
Abbey Joice opened the scoring in the 27th minute, slotting home precisely after unlocking the Durham defence following a one-two with Beth Mead. Vicky Greenwell doubled the Lady Black Cats' lead on the stroke of half time, curling home a direct free kick from the edge of the area.
Durham were only formed in the summer, but they performed creditably throughout and clawed a goal back five minutes after the interval when Zoe Ness spotted replacement goalkeeper Helen Alderson off her line and floated home a 40-yard strike.
Sunderland restored their two-goal advantage when Mead drilled home from the spot, with Gemma Wilson adding a fourth as she hooked home from a corner.
However, it was Durham who had the final say as Caroline Dixon netted a penalty with four minutes left.
Durham Women: Danielle Hill, Ellie Christon, Lauren Jordinson, Jen King, Becky Hanratty, Caroline Dixon, Beth Jennings (sub Meg Lawson 87mins), Beth Hepple (sub Rosie Young 61mins), Zoe Ness, Jess Round, Stacy Crooks (sub Yasmine Hardy 70mins). Subs not used: Katie Luther, Jennifer Jennings.
Sunderland: Rachael Laws (sub Helen Alderson 45), Megan Beer, Steph Bannon, Gemma Wilson, Vicky Greenwell, Rebekah Bass, Rachel Furness (sub Emma Kelly 78), Kelly McDougall, Abbey Joice, Keira Ramshaw, Beth Mead. Subs not used: Abby Holmes, Tyler Dodds, Rebecca Olley.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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