Addicks end 18-month unbeaten run.
Charlton Athletic Ladies 2 Sunderland WFC 1
Sunderland WFC lost their first league game in 18 months as they went down to a last-minute penalty at Charlton Athletic.
Gemma Shepherd scored twice for the hosts, either side of a Beth Mead strike, as Mick Mulhern’s side lost their third consecutive game in all competitions.
After a slow start, the Lady Black Cats began to find their rhythm and they went closest to breaking the deadlock when a Steph Bannon effort was well saved by Megan Lynch in the Charlton goal.
However, Mulhern’s side found themselves one behind at half time. Completely against the run of play, the hosts countered and Rosie Paye played in Shepherd who lobbed over the reach of Rachael Laws in the Sunderland goal.
The visitors were again dominant in the second period; Abbey Joice cleverly turned her defender but her shot brought a fine save from Lynch.
Sunderland got their equaliser just after the hour mark as Wilson and Bannon combined to release Mead who turned her marker and fired home her 26th goal of the campaign.
And Mead was unlucky not to double her tally moments later as Jordan Atkinson crossed for the England U19 striker, whose fantastic effort bounced back off the bar.
The killer blow was dealt in the last minute of normal time. Charlton broke quickly and Abby Holmes tangled with a Charlton attacker leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot.
Shepherd sent Laws the wrong way from the resulting spot-kick.
Ladies manager Mulhern was disappointed to see his side’s unbeaten run come to an end in such fashion.
“We started slowly and played our way back into the game,” Mulhern said.
“We were in control and pushing for a winner and unfortunately we committed football suicide in our own box and that's an awful way to end an 18 month unbeaten league record - very frustrating.”
Sunderland: Laws, Beer (Holmes), Bannon, Wilson, Greenwell, McFadden, Salicki (McDougall), Joice, Ramshaw, Atkinson, Mead.
Subs not used: Christon, Sutcliffe, Caldwell.