Beth Hepple in action

Two late goals saw Durham Women beat Aston Villa 3-1 at the Lamb Ground as Beth Hepple’s first half strike saw her become the joint top scorer in WSL2.

Hepple put the Wildcats in front in first half stoppage time, but Alice Hassall’s penalty looked to have rescued a point for the Villans.

Zoe Ness restored Durham’s lead right at the end before turning provider for Emily Roberts to put the game beyond doubt.

Durham came in to the game looking to keep up the momentum they’ve built ahead of next weekend’s cup quarter-final against Everton and the Wildcats got off to a good start.

Villa came flying out of the blocks, but Durham contained the threat and finished the half the stronger side.

Nicki Gears crossed from the left to find Hepple unmarked in the box, who fired past Rogers to give the Wildcats the lead at half time.

Villa drew level with 15 minutes to play when Elizabeta Ejupi was caught by Grace McCatty’s high foot and went down in the box. Hassall stepped up and sent Alderson the wrong way.

Durham took the lead with a minute to play when Gears played in Ness on the edge of the box, who turned and unleashed a strong effort just past Rogers.

And there was still time for the Wildcats to add a third, Ness slid a ball forward for Roberts to chase after and the winger rounded the keeper and kept her composure to wrap up the scoring.

Aston Villa XI: Sian Rogers; Hayley Crackle, Jodie Hutton (Ellen Martin 85’), Chloe Jones, Jade Richards, Elisha N’Dow, Alice Hassall, Aoife Hurley, Ebony Salmon, Elizabeta Ejupi (Asmita Ale 76’), Amy West

Unused subs: Beth Merrick, Amy Goddard, Phoebe Warner

Durham XI: Helen Alderson; Kathryn Hill, Sarah Wilson, Grace McCatty, Annabel Johnson (Jenny Bitzer 45’); Sarah Robson (Rachel Lee 68’), Lauren Briggs; Abi Cottam (Emily Roberts 56’), Beth Hepple, Nicki Gears; Zoe Ness

Unused subs: Rosie Todd, Jordan Atkinson