Dixon had been on the sidelines for almost two years. Photo: Facebook/Susan Gutteridge and Craig McNair.

It’s been a long two years for Caroline Dixon.

After suffering a long-term injury at the end of the 2014 FA Women’s Super League season, numerous set backs saw the versatile player miss over two years of action.

But she returned to the Durham Women FC side in their victory against Brighton – after admitting she feared at times that a comeback wouldn’t happen.

Captain of the Wildcats during their first FA WSL season in 2014, Dixon top-scored for the club and was a key part of the side that achieved a respectable 6th place finish in their debut year.

But her season ended in the worst possible way as she picked up an injury projected to sideline her for about a year.

That year soon turned into two, with setbacks aplenty thwarting Dixon in her attempts to get back to playing.

She eventually returned to the club at the end of 2016, playing in the club’s reserve sides to regain her match fitness.

An opportunity to make her first team comeback soon came knocking. Injuries and absences meant she was thrown in the deep end against Brighton & Hove Albion, playing the full ninety minutes of a 1-0 win.

“It’s really good to be back,” said the experienced midfielder.

“I’ve been out a long time and I thought at one point this was never going to happen.

“But I’ve been back at the club now since just before Christmas, working hard behind the scenes and I’ve picked up a lot of minutes with the development and reserve teams, so it’s nice to come back today and not only get ninety minutes but the clean sheet and a win too.”

It wasn’t the prettiest game to return in – with the Wildcats having to scrap against their determined visitors – but Dixon was pleased to get the win that erased memories of a disappointing defeat at Doncaster the weekend before.

“We came into training this week with a bit of a bitter taste after the result at Doncaster,” she added.

“But we spoke about it briefly and then the focus was purely this game and what we needed to do to get the three points.

“There was a bit of a change in personnel and tactically and it’s pulled off.

“We ground out the win, I don’t think it was pretty at times and we missed a lot of opportunities which I’m sure we’ll look at in training this week.

“But three points is three points.

“We had an idea of how they would set up and how they would play.

“We knew they would sit back so the game plan for us was all about patience and our build-up play, and we broke them down a lot today.

“I don’t think we were clinical enough and for me we could have had a more comfortable victory.”

Home form has been a foundation of the Wildcats’ impressive season, with their 100 per cent record at New Ferens Park still intact.

And Dixon praised the club’s supporters who turned up in their numbers yet again – saying they have continued to grow since her last appearance.

She said: “It’s always a bonus and since I started in the first season in the WSL with the club the crowds have always been great and at times they’re our twelfth player.

“The crowds continue to grow and it’s a credit to what the club is doing.

“The fanbase is growing week in, week out and you turn up on game days and there’s 60 kids on the pitch all playing and ready to watch the game.

“It’s just really nice to be around.”

The Wildcats are back at home next weekend as they welcome London Bees, and Dixon says she’ll be targeting more minutes, but only after a well-deserved rest.

“I’ll go away and do some reflections myself – I wasn’t expecting to get ninety minutes today.

“I’ll have a well-earned rest but come back in on Tuesday, train this week and hopefully I’ll give the manager something to think about.

“I want to get minutes, as does everyone else who is in this club, so I’m certainly fighting for minutes at the moment.”