Sheffield FC saw their FA Women’s Super League debut spoiled as they were narrowly edged out by Durham at the Coach and Horses Ground.
Jordan Atkinson’s goal just before half-time was enough for the visitors to seal an opening day victory.
The hosts started the better, with Ellie Gilliatt providing a good outlet down the left flank and stinging the fingertips of Helen Alderson early on.
Durham then took a firm grip of the game and created a cluster of chances with Sarah McFadden and Beth Hepple both going close.
Just when the hosts thought they had held out until half-time, Atkinson broke the deadlock when she worked her way inwards, weaved through the hosts’ defence and slotted into the far-left corner.
Sheffield were the more cohesive side after the break, but Jodie Michalska could not get past Alderson as she bore down on goal.
The chance of the night then fell to Gilliatt who, after being teed up a yard out by Michalska, proceeded to blaze the ball well over the bar.
The hosts continued to pepper the Durham goal and an inswinging corner resulted in an almighty scramble which somehow ended with the ball being hacked away desperately.
Durham defended admirably late on as they held out for three points.
Sheffield (4-4-2): Claire Wallhead, Emma Lipman, Danielle Cox, Billie Murphy, Lynn Goodman, Kerry Parkin, Carla Ward, Sherry McCue, Rhema Lord-Mears, Jodie Michalska, Ellie Gilliatt. Subs not used: Emily Owen, Hannah Dale, Jules Draycott, Chloe Dixon, Emily Roberts
Durham: Helen Alderson, Amelia Pereira (Chloe Macek 87), Sarah Wilson, Sarah McFadden, Beth Hepple, Nicki Gears, Nat Gutteridge, Jordan Atkinson (Nicola Gibson 90), Becky Salicki, Ellie Christon, Rachel Lee. Subs not used: Megan Borthwick, Sarah Eadon.
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