REPORT: Reading Women 1 Sunderland Ladies 1

by Adam Capper

Lady Black Cats' unbeaten run keeps rolling.

Reading Women 1 Sunderland Ladies 1

Sunderland Ladies maintained their unbeaten record in FA WSL 2 with a hard fought 1-1 draw at third-placed Reading Women. 

The hosts went ahead through Fran Kirby’s stunning first-half solo effort before being pulled level in the second period when Rachel Furness lashes a powerful volley home from a corner. 

With second-placed Doncaster not playing until Sunday, the Lady Black Cats sit five points clear at the top of the table. 

In a subpar first half from Sunderland, the hosts started brightly and could have scored three within the first ten minutes. 

In the second minute  Kirby broke down the left wing, cutting back to Lois Roche but the forward could only blast over from seven yards in the centre of goal. 

Just two minutes later Roche saw a free kick fly narrowly over the bar before Bonnie Horwood’s header from a corner flew just wide of the post. 

In a half of few chances, the deadlock wasn’t broken until the 41st minute. FA WSL 2’s top scorer Kirby picked the ball up on the left touchline before skipping past two defenders and curling the ball beyond Rachael Laws and into the bottom corner from the corner of the box. 

The second half was a very different affair as Sunderland started brightly, keeping Reading penned into their own half. 

Vicki Greenwell almost pulled the sides level when her cross looped toward the top corner before being tipped over by Wales goalkeeper Nicky Davies. 

Just eight minutes later Furness did find the back of the net; Greenwell’s delivery from a free-kick out wide was inch perfect for Keira Ramshaw to head down for Furness who lashed a powerful half-volley from eight yards into the centre of the goal. 

It was the Northern Ireland international’s sixth goal of the campaign and she almost added a seventh, her volley from 35 yards flying inches over the bar just a few minutes later. 

With fifteen minutes remaining Beth Mead, on her return from England U20 duty at the FIFA World Cup in Canada, saw her volley stunningly saved by Davies as it headed toward the bottom corner. 

The final quarter of an hour was stretched with neither side creating a clear cut chance meaning that the Sunderland will stay at least two points clear at the top following this weekend’s round of fixtures. 

The Lady Black Cats return to action next weekend when they face Aston Villa at the Hetton Centre on Saturday 30th August, kick-off 3pm.

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

Subs not used: Alderson, McCubbin, Wilson, Briggs, Joice.