Ladies back on track

by Ashley Houghton

Mead scores winner at Eppleton.

Sunderland WFC 1 Manchester City Ladies 0

Sunderland WFC returned to the top of the FA Women’s Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Manchester City on Sunday at Eppleton CW.

Beth Mead scored the only goal of the game to give Mick Mulhern’s side their first win in three.

Mead’s first-half volley was her 26th goal of the campaign as the Lady Black Cats saw off a powerful and resilient City side.

The hosts started the brighter of the two sides and went close to opening the scoring when Abbey Joice volleyed narrowly over the bar after good interplay between Mead and Keira Ramshaw.

City also went close to gaining the advantage on the half-hour; a long ball over the top almost caught the home defence out as Sarah Buffel headed wide under pressure from Gemma Wilson.

The deadlock was broken just before half-time as Mead cleverly made space before thumping home a superb half volley from the edge of the area.

Sunderland continued to press early in the second-half and went close to doubling their advantage when good link up play between Joice and Kelly McDougall found Sarah McFadden whose shot was hacked off the line by a City defender.

The visitors upped the tempo as the second-half progressed and, when a free-kick was played in for Abbie McManus to find herself clear in front of goal, it looked as if they’d found their equaliser only for goalkeeper Rachael Laws to make a great block before the ball was cleared.

A Lyndsay Savage free-kick caused a moment of panic in the home defence before Megan Beer cleared off the line as City pushed for an equaliser.

The Lady Black Cats held out for the win and manager Mulhern was delighted with his side’s performance after three consecutive defeats.

“I was looking for a response from my players after last week’s performance and I certainly got one,” Mulhern explained.

“We really dug in today against a very good City side and the girls should take a lot of heart from their performance.”

Sunderland: Laws, Beer, Bannon, Wilson, Greenwell, Ramshaw, McFadden, Joice (Atkinson), McDougall, Williams, Mead.

Subs not used: Alderson, Salicki, Holmes, Kelly, Christon.