Ladies leading the way

by Stuart Vose

Catch up with the Lady Black Cats' WSL progress.

Sunderland Ladies are living up to their billing as promotion front-runners having made a 100% start to the WSL 2 season.

The Lady Black Cats, making their debut at WSL level, have won six games out of six and sit two points ahead of Doncaster Belles at the top of the table.

Sunderland and Doncaster had been neck and neck with similarly unblemished records, but the tie was broken last weekend when the Wearsiders beat Yeovil while the Belles drew 0-0 with Millwall.

Having won three consecutive Women’s Premier League titles going into this season, Sunderland are now targeting promotion from their new level.

The WSL 2 winners will be rewarded with a top-flight place at the end of the campaign.

No team has scored more than Sunderland’s 17 goals this season, with forward Beth Mead leading the way with seven strikes. Next up is influential midfielder Rachel Furness, with three goals.

Meanwhile only Doncaster have conceded on fewer occasions.

After opening the WSL 2 campaign with a 4-2 victory over near neighbours Durham, Sunderland have beaten Reading (3-2), Aston Villa (3-0), London Bees (1-0), Watford (4-2) and Yeovil (2-0).

Having just returned to action following a mid-season break, Sunderland will now concentrate on the Continental Cup competition, starting with a trip to WSL 1 side Manchester City this weekend (Sunday 6th July, KO 2pm).

They then travel to Everton a week later before the league programme resumes with a trip to Doncaster on July 26.

The ladies are yet to meet the Belles in league action but did run out 2-0 winners at the Keepmoat Stadium in mid-May thanks to goals from Mead and Furness.

Log on to for a report and reaction following this weekend’s game, which sees Sunderland take on a City side who made a host of big-name signings during the close season.

Steph Houghton, who began her career on Wearside, made the move from Arsenal, while the likes of goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and striker Toni Duggan also joined.