Ladies team manager reflects on hard-earned point.
Sunderland Ladies’ team manager Mick Mulhern believes the point the Lady Black Cats picked up against Doncaster Rovers Belles could prove vital in their quest for promotion.
A spectacular goal from Rachel Furness gave the ladies a 1-1 draw at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday evening, keeping them two points ahead of second-placed Doncaster in FA WSL 2.
Mulhern feels that a potential stumbling block has been well avoided as Sunderland maintained an unbeaten record in the league this season.
We showed a lot of heart and determination to dig in during the second half and come away with something. That’s the sign of a team who can win things
- Mick Mulhern
“The most important thing was not to lose the game. Obviously we tried to win it and that wasn’t to be but we showed a lot of heart and determination to dig in during the second half and come away with something. That’s the sign of a team who can win things.
“I knew that Doncaster would have to come at us and try to win because of our position in the league and they didn’t disappoint. We weren’t as good offensively as we normally are but defensively I thought we were strong.”
Sunderland and Doncaster sit six and four points above the chasing pack respectively, with only one team being promoted from the division.
The Lady Black Cats were without several key players, including top scorer Beth Mead who is in duty with England at the FIFA U20 World Cup in Canada, and Mulhern feels Saturday’s result shows the strength and depth of the ladies’ squad.
“We didn’t lose and that was the important thing and if things work out the way we hope, we’ll be in exactly the same position or better whenever we next play them, and hopefully we’ll have a lot of our players back.
“I’m really proud of the girls who have come in. We’re missing Beth Mead, Abbey Joyce, Natalie Gutteridge, Abby Holmes and others today while Doncaster were at full strength. They won’t be a very different side when they come to our place but we will be.”
Former England international Sue Smith opened the scoring for the hosts before Furness ran from inside her own half to unleash a stunning drive into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Mulhern paid tribute to the positive attitude and work ethic of the Northern Ireland international.
“It was a great goal and a great counter-attacking goal. Rachel has picked the ball up in our half from a Doncaster attack and been really positive and given everything you would ask for. She was looking for options but I’m really pleased that she’s decided to have a go because it was deserved after all the effort and the running she put in.”
Sunderland Ladies are back in action next Sunday (August 3) when Oxford United Women visit the Hetton Centre for an 11.30am kick-off.
For full ticket details, visit www.safcladies.com.