Durham W.F.C.

Coordinates: 54°46′3.4″N 1°33′28.1″W / 54.767611°N 1.557806°W / 54.767611; -1.557806
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Durham Women F.C.
Full nameDurham Women Football Club
Nickname(s)The Wildcats
GroundMaiden Castle, Durham
Capacity1,700 (300 seats)
Parent companyDurham University[1]
First Team ManagerLee Sanders
LeagueWomen's Championship
2022–23Women's Championship, 7th of 12
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Durham Women Football Club is a women's football club based in Durham, Northern England. The team has competed in the FA Women's Championship, the second tier of Women's football in England,[2] since 2014 having been awarded a licence in its inaugural season.[3] They play their home games at Maiden Castle, part of Durham University.[4]


Durham W.F.C. was founded in 2014 as a collaboration between South Durham & Cestria Girls and Durham University.[5] Prior to that, Cestria, founded in 2006 as a youth team by Lee Sanders, had become perennial achievers, winning the World Peace Cup in Oslo in 2010 and finishing runners-up at the 2011 Gothia World Youth Cup. In their only season as a senior side before the merger Cestria won the 2012–13 Northern Combination Women's Football League. Sanders, in conjunction with Quentin Sloper, head of sport at Durham University, then created Durham W.F.C in time for the 2014 FA WSL expansion.[6][7]

Durham's first competitive matches were in the 2013–14 FA Women's Cup where they reached the fifth round.[8] The team's first league game was held on 17 April 2014, a 4–2 defeat against local rivals Sunderland at their New Ferens Park home. The Wildcats secured their first league victory away at London Bees, with a 1–0 win at The Hive Stadium. Despite a difficult start to the 2014 season, the Wildcats finished 6th. They won five, drew three and lost ten of their eighteen games.

2015 saw a much improved season for the Wildcats, including a better points total, albeit achieving a lower league finish, 7th place a reward for an injury-ravaged season. However 2016, saw Durham really hit their stride, with the Wildcats competing for promotion up until the final weeks of the season. The signings of Sarah Robson, Becky Salicki and Emily Roberts among others proved a catalyst as the Wildcats excelled throughout 2016. A record-breaking season eventually ended in a 4th-place finish with a highest-ever points total. They were also awarded the 'FA WSL 2 Club of the Year' award at the 2017 FA Women's Football Awards.

2017–18 was the Wildcats best ever season, finishing 4th, gaining 35 points in the process and only two points off second place. Durham also enjoyed their best ever FA Women's Cup run, reaching the quarter-finals before losing to Everton. 2018–19 started well for the Wildcats, including a Continental Cup win over FA WSL side Everton and a 0–0 draw away at newly-formed Manchester United. Durham won 3–1 in the Home League fixture, thus becoming the first team to beat the Red Devils.[9] 2018–19 also saw the Wildcats reach their second successive FA Cup quarter-final before narrowly losing 1–0 to Chelsea in front of a record attendance of 1,629.[10]

Durham Hospitals Radio have broadcast all home matches since 2014 via their website to Durham Hospital (UHND) and around the world.[11] In October 2020, Durham Women became one of 41 clubs to be founding signatories of the Football Association’s Football Leadership Diversity Code (including two others from the Women's Championship).[12]


Current squad[edit]

Kathryn Hill (2) and captain Sarah Wilson (5) in March 2019
As of 4 July 2023[13]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK Republic of Ireland IRL Naoisha McAloon
2 DF England ENG Georgia Robert
3 MF England ENG Lauren Briggs
5 DF England ENG Sarah Wilson (captain)
6 MF Northern Ireland NIR Sarah Robson
7 MF England ENG Beth Hepple
8 MF England ENG Mollie Lambert
9 FW England ENG Amy Andrews
12 FW England ENG Lily Crosthwaite
14 DF England ENG Becky Salicki
No. Pos. Nation Player
15 DF United States USA Dee Bradley
17 FW England ENG Poppy Pritchard
18 DF England ENG Grace Ayre
19 DF England ENG Ella Wilson
20 FW Republic of Ireland IRL Saoirse Noonan
22 FW Republic of Ireland IRL Eleanor Ryan-Doyle
23 FW England ENG Jess Clarke
24 DF England ENG Abby Holmes
30 GK United States USA Tatiana Saunders

Club staff[edit]

As of 12 September 2021[14]
Head of Football Lee Sanders
First Team Coach Claire Ditchburn
Goalkeeping Coach Stephen Brass
Physiotherapist Nat Gutteridge
Club doctor Dougal Southward
Strength and conditioning Coach Kara Elderkin
Sports scientist Simon Fairbairn


As of the end of 2022–23 season

Season summary[edit]

Results of league and cup competitions by season
Season Division P W D L F A Pts Pos FA Cup League Cup Name Goals
League Top goalscorer[nb 1]
2014 WSL 2 18 5 3 10 19 32 18 6th Fifth round Group stage Caroline Dixon 5
2015 WSL 2 18 6 2 10 24 32 20 7th Third round Group stage Courtney Corrie 5
2016 WSL 2 18 10 3 5 30 19 33 4th Fifth round Preliminary round Beth Hepple 14
2017[nb 2] WSL 2 9 5 1 3 14 10 16 5th Fourth round N/A Zoe Ness 5
2017–18 WSL 2 18 11 2 5 44 26 35 4th Quarter-final Group stage Beth Hepple 11
2018–19 Championship 20 11 6 3 37 16 39 4th Quarter-final Group stage Beth Hepple 8
2019–20[nb 3] Championship 14 10 2 2 33 10 32 3rd Fourth round Group stage Beth Hepple 10
2020–21 Championship 20 12 6 2 34 15 42 2nd Fourth round Quarter-finals Beth Hepple 10
2021–22 Championship 22 10 4 8 30 28 34 6th Fifth round Group stage Beth Hepple 10
2022–23 Championship 22 8 4 10 30 29 28 7th Fifth round Group stage Rio Hardy 9
  1. ^ Goals in all competitions (League, FA Cup and League Cup are counted)
  2. ^ Shortened Spring Series: teams only played each other once and there was no WSL Cup
  3. ^ Season curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Durham Women's Football Club Ltd Accounts 2019–2020". Companies House. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  2. ^ "Women's Super League: North East seeks knock-on effect". BBC Sport. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Durham Women: 'We travel to matches in vans, then play the opposition off the park'". thetimes.co.uk (Archived).
  4. ^ Donnelly, Mark (12 September 2020). "Durham Women Move To New Home Ground". Durham Women FC.
  5. ^ Clark, Steph. "Durham Women gear up for Super League bow". Northern Echo. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  6. ^ "History of Durham Women FC, TheFA WSL". durham.fawsl.com.
  7. ^ Association, The Football. "Newcomers Durham primed for FA WSL challenge". www.thefa.com.
  8. ^ Watson, Neil. "Sunderland Ladies relish Durham derby opener". Sunderland Echo. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Manchester United Women lose unbeaten record at Durham". BBC Sport. 9 December 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Women's FA Cup: Durham Women 0–1 Chelsea Women". BBC Sport. 17 March 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  11. ^ "NEWS: Durham Women & Durham Hospitals Radio Continue Partnership". Durham WFC. 26 August 2022. Retrieved 4 September 2023.
  12. ^ Paul MacInnes (27 October 2020). "'An important step': Tyrone Mings welcomes launch of FA's new diversity code". The Guardian.
  13. ^ Donnelly, Mark (29 August 2021). "Meet The Squad". Durham Women FC.
  14. ^ "Club Staff". Durham Women FC. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Championship side Durham twice fought back before beating Manchester United in a League Cup penalty shootout". BBC Sport.
  16. ^ a b "Player Statistics". Durham WFC. Retrieved 4 September 2023.

External links[edit]

54°46′3.4″N 1°33′28.1″W / 54.767611°N 1.557806°W / 54.767611; -1.557806