Sunderland Ladies 3 Reading Ladies 2
Ladies secure three home points.
A frantic start and a frantic end saw Sunderland Ladies snatch a last-gasp winner to secure all three points against Reading in their first home game of the FA Women's Super League season.
The game kicked off at blistering pace with both sides keen to stamp their authority. With just five minutes played midfielder Rachel Furness was dragged down on the edge of the box earning her side a free kick. Defender Victoria Greenwell stepped up and produced another stunning effort which was almost a carbon copy of her goal against Durham earlier in the week.
With 11 minutes gone Sunderland extended their lead, Rachel Furness’ powerful header from a corner fell to a scrambling Reading defender whose attempted clearance ended up in the back of the net.
Reading responded quickly and two minutes later Lauren Bruton headed home from a Cheryl Williams cross to get her side back into the game. Reading continued to push forward and went close just before the break as Helen Alderson in the Sunderland goal was forced into a good save from a long range effort by Francesca Kirby.
Within minutes of the restart Abbey Joice latched on to a poor pass by Reading defender Shelly Cox and set up Kelly McDougall for a long-range effort that went narrowly wide.
Reading fought hard to get back into the game and were rewarded for their efforts. Under intense pressure the Sunderland defence conceded a direct free kick on the edge of the area and Lois Roche unleashed a stunning strike into the top left hand corner for a deserved equaliser.
With 15 minutes to go Sunderland pushed forward for a winner and had their best chances of the game as a result of an 85th-minute corner. Reading repeatedly failed to clear the ball and despite the best efforts of nearly every Sunderland player the ball would not go over the line.
With the crowd roaring them on Sunderland continued to press, Beth Mead took on three defenders but her shot was well saved by the Reading goalkeeper. This spurred on Sunderland and in the dying moments of the match a corner kick dropped to McDougall who hit a sensational strike into the top corner of the net to earn the home side a stunning win.
Sunderland: Alderson, Beer, Greenwell, Bannon (c), Wilson, McDougall, Furness, Joice, Ramshaw, Bass (Kelly, 73) Mead.