Amanda Staveley's Newcastle United vision begins to take shape after 'massive result'
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Anything less than three points would have significantly dented the Lady Magpies’ title hopes and they handled the pressure with a tight affair at Newcastle Falcons’ Kingston Park settled by a first-half own goal.
Durham hold a four-point advantage at the top-of-the-table but crucially, United’s destiny is in their own hands with two games in-hand over their North East neighbours.
In front of a bumper 2641 crowd, Newcastle broke the deadlock in the 26th minute via a freak own goal. Beth Guy played a first-time ball through to Katie Barker and before the No.9 could get her shot away, Cestria skipper Jen Knowles diverted the ball into the top corner.
The hosts almost doubled their advantage at the end of the first interval when Guy saw an effort cleared off the line after Durham failed to clear a corner.
Shortly after the restart, celebrations of a second Newcastle goal were cut short when substitute Becky Ferguson was denied by the offside flag. At the other end, last-ditching defending from Keira Skelton and others was needed to keep Durham at bay on the hour-mark.
But at the same time, Langley’s side did not want to rely on their slender lead. Just minutes later, Ferguson again went close but her venomous effort hit the side netting, which fooled some supporters into thinking the ball had beaten Anna King in the Durham goal.
Overall, it was a tense and nervy second-half as the visitors showed no let up, but the Lady Magpies remained resolute to ensure their title and promotion hopes are in their own hands.
Amanda Staveley’s ambition to transform Newcastle United Women into a Super League club is no secret. The Ladies set up has been brought under the financial wing of the football club, and Langley’s side will play for the third time at St James’ Park when they welcome Bradford City next month.
Newcastle United Women: Grace Donnelly, Daisy Burt, Freya Bailes, Charlotte Potts, Keira Skelton, Rachel Lee, Beth Guy, Anna Soulsby (Erin Nelson 59), Georgia Gibson, Kacie Elson, Katie Barker (Becky Ferguson 46). Subs not used: Ellen Packham, Millie Bell, Lois Greenslade.