DURHAM STAND-IN MEGAN IS DAR­ING TO DREAM OF STEP-UP

The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Joshua Richards

LOS­ING your No.1 keeper in the midst of a pro­mo­tion bat­tle is far from ideal, but Durham did so at Mill­wall Lionesses last week­end in an un­usual set of cir­cum­stances.

Shot stop­per – and char­ity fundraiser – He­len Alder­son had kept six clean sheets in FA WSL 2 this term to help the Wild­cats into fourth place in the ta­ble, with the top two to go up.

How­ever, the for­mer Sun­der- land and Don­caster Rovers Belles keeper was ab­sent at The Den as she was re­quired to com­plete the day job at Sun­day’s Great North Run i n New­cas­tle.

Her so-far-un­used un­der­study for sev­eral games this term had been striker Sarah Eadon, but, rather than have to put on the gloves as an emer­gency stop­per in Lon­don, boss Lee San­ders turned to 20-year-old Megan Borth­wick for her de­but.

The Northum­bria Univer­sity stu­dent proved a safe pair of hands, help­ing shut out the Lionesses as Durham bat­tled to a 1-0 vic­tory that leaves them three points be­hind sec­ond-placed Bris­tol City with a game in hand.

And Borth­wick ad­mits she has barely stopped smil­ing.

“It was a re­ally good game and un­be­liev­able to get a clean sheet,” said the 20-year-old, who will soon com­mence the fi­nal year of a sports science de­gree.

“I didn’t sleep too well on Satur­day night! But I like play­ing at places like The Den. It helps the mo­men­tum and felt like a cup fi­nal.

“I was a lit­tle bit ner­vous, but the girls spoke to me and that re­ally

set­tled me down and helped a lot. Once I’d made my first save, my nerves had gone and I was happy to get on with it.

“I knew I was play­ing about a week be­fore. My­self and He­len worked closely in the build-up, mak­ing sure I was fa­mil­iar with the back four and went from there.

“I get on re­ally well with He­len, so I’m happy that she is play­ing well and the team is play­ing well.

Hope­fully, I can play again this sea­son, but I’m happy ei­ther way.

“As long as the team’s win­ning, I’m happy to play my part ei­ther way.”

Lead­ers Yeovil Town suf­fered a sur­prise de­feat to Lon­don Bees later in the day, boost­ing Durham’s chances of reach­ing WSL 1.

The club has al­ready held talks with Durham Univer­sity on how they might cope with life in the topflight and will be aided by the healthy re­la­tion­ship they en­joy with Sun­der­land.

Should the best hap­pen and the likes of Man­ches­ter City and Chelsea are to visit New Ferens Park next term, the club could be­gin to of­fer their play­ers full­time con­tracts.

While Borth­wick, a stu­dent, is loathe to get car­ried away, she knows she has come a long way from Premier League North­ern Di­vi­sion foot­ball with New­cas­tle United.

“If we were to go up and go full­time that would be un­be­liev­able, but we’ll see how it goes,” she added.

“I didn’t imag­ine this could have hap­pened, I was over the moon with the op­por­tu­nity to come to Durham and I’ve never looked back.”

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