Ladies suffer narrow friendly defeat

by Maurice Alderson

Ladies toppled by WSL champions in friendly.

It was a battle of the champions at Eppleton CW on Sunday when National Premier League winners Sunderland faced FAWSL winners Liverpool.

On a bright, but cold, day it was the champions from Merseyside who proved the stronger as they ran out 2-0 winners.

The Reds showed their credentials in a powerhouse first-half display when they pushed the home side back at every opportunity and did not allow the Lady Black Cats to settle.

Strikes from England international Natasha Dowie and American Amanda Da Costa put the visitors two goals ahead at the interval as they showed their superiority.

Liverpool made full use of their squad as they made seven second-half substitutions and the battling Wearsiders were unlucky not to reduce the deficit.

A bright opening saw Brogan McHugh lift the ball narrowly over following good work from Rebekah Bass.

At the other end Helen Alderson had to be alert to tip over from a Gemma Davidson effort.

The visitors took the lead in the 19th minute when Nicola Rossler latched on to a loose ball and crossed for Dowie to fire home at the far post

Rossler and Dowie went close for Liverpool as Sunderland were finding it hard to find their feet in midfield.

With visiting keeper Libby Stout off her line, Beth Mead tried her luck from 25 yards but the ball dropped just over the bar.

A quick Liverpool break almost caught out the home defence as Dowie chipped the ball over but somehow Alderson arched back to claw the ball out, but in doing so the keeper collided with the post and had to receive treatment for a facial injury.

Liverpool extended their lead just before the break when Da Costa finished off a fine move between Katrin Omarsdottir and Dowie just as the hosts were beginning to find their feet.

Sunderland appeared more determined as the second period got underway and a powerful run through by skipper Steph Bannon set Mead away but Danielle Gibbons in the Reds’ goal made a good stop.

Bass turned cleverly to beat her marker but her strike came back from the underside of the bar as the home side were finding more space.

A left wing corner by McDougall was headed goal ward by Gemma Wilson but it dropped narrowly wide.

Dowie went close for the visitors before Mead saw her snapshot drop just wide in the closing stages.

It was end to end in a much more even second half but the final effort of the game fell to star performer Rachel Furness who saw her volley pushed away by Gibbons.

Sunderland: Alderson(Laws), Beer, Bannon, Wilson, Greenwell, McHugh (Holmes), McDougall, Furness, Joice, Bass, Mead.

Images by Susan Gutteridge