Ladies restore four-point lead

by Adam Capper

Four different scorers on target in thumping home win.

Sunderland Ladies 4 Millwall Lionesses 0

Sunderland Ladies produced a stunning 4-0 home win to restore their four-point lead at the top of FA WSL 2. 

The Lady Black Cats saw four different scorers find the back of the net, including a first goal of the season for captain Steph Bannon and a first goal since her return from injury for Sophie Williams. 

After seeing their lead reduced to just a point following Doncaster’s resounding win over London Bees on Saturday, Sunderland made no mistake as they made it eight wins from their opening nine league games. 

The first half started slowly, with both sides struggling to break each other down in the pouring rain. 

Though Sunderland enjoyed the majority of the possession, they came up against a solid Millwall back four and an in-form Sarah Quantrill in the visitors’ goal.  

It took until the final minute of the half for a chance of note as Williams broke down the left-hand side to cross for Keira Ramshaw, who had her header brilliantly saved by Quantrill before Kelly McDougall’s follow-up was deflected behind. 

From the resulting corner Vicki Greenwell’s deep ball was headed back across goal by Rachel Furness before being met by Bannon’s powerful run and header to put the hosts into the lead. 

It was almost two on the stroke of half time as Greenwell’s cross-come-shot skipped inches wide of the left-hand post. 

The second half was a different story as Sunderland ruthlessly punished Millwall, netting three times. 

The Lady Black Cats' second came just ten minutes after the restart - Furness produced a powerful run, shrugging off two challenges before playing a perfect through ball into the feet of Williams.

The striker took one touch before sliding the ball perfectly into the bottom corner to double her side’s lead. 

Ten minutes later Ramshaw was played in behind the Millwall defence by Emma Kelly, but her stinging drive was pushed behind by Quantrill. 

The resulting corner saw the visitors' defence fail to deal with Greenwell’s delivery as Ramshaw prodded the ball home inside a crowded six-yard box. 

Though Millwall had struggled to create much going forward, Rachael Laws was forced into a stunning save, tipping Cherelle Albert’s powerful strike from distance over the bar. 

The scoring was rounded off just four minutes before the end as Northern Ireland international Furness netted her fifth goal of the season. 

The central midfielder collect a clearance on the edge of the Millwall area before running past one defender and launching a powerful low drive under Quantrill.

There was almost a fifth as Brogan McHugh’s pace allowed her to cross for Williams who had her fine effort blocked by Quantrill. 

The Ladies now face a week off before returning to action on Saturday 23rd August when they travel south to face Reading. 

Sunderland Ladies: Laws, Holmes (Beer), Greenwell, Sharp, Bannon (c), McDougall, Kelly (Briggs), Furness, Bass (McHugh), Ramshaw, Williams. 

Subs: Harkness, Dodds, Wilson.