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Durham United v FC Hartlepool

7.45pm 21 September 2022

Wearside League, Division One
Durham United 3 FC Hartlepool 1 (att 70)

Durham University's Graham Sports Centre, just outside the city in Maiden Castle, has had quite a makeover since I visited for a Wednesday afternoon fixture in 2015.

An imposing sports hall building has gone up near the car park, and beyond that the pitch inside a running track has been turned into an impressive football venue. It's main users are Durham Women FC, in the second tier of female football, but from this season it's also become home to men's team Durham United.

United are effectively the university's team, and are catching up with fixtures after a delayed start to their season to allow for the start of term. A win over leaders FC Hartlepool suggests they'll quickly climb the table.

An early goal got the home side off to a perfect start, and it wasn't long before they doubled their lead. It looked like being a long evening for Hartlepool, but they weathered the early storm and fought to get back into the match.

They did get a late consolation goal, which they deserved for their efforts, but by then had already conceded a third during the second half. It was a high-quality game between two good teams.

If Durham United do finish the season in a promotion position, having won promotion from the second division last season, their Maiden Castle ground won't be far off the standard required for a step up. The artificial pitch is enclosed by advertising boards, inside the athletics track, and there's a stand with plenty of seats.