Away-day win for ladies

by Claire Forrester

Goals from Mead and Furness ensure victory at Doncaster.

Doncaster Belles 0 Sunderland Ladies 2

Sunderland Ladies notched a fine win over fellow WSL 2 front-runners Doncaster Belles in the Continental Cup at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Looking to rebound from a defeat at Liverpool, the Lady Black Cats opened the scoring through Beth Mead after just five minutes and never looked back.

Rachel Furness headed home midway through the first period and the two goals proved enough for the visitors.

Sunderland capitalised on a great start as neat build up play through the middle of the pitch saw Furness play in Mead, who calmly fired past Nicola Hobbs in the Doncaster goal to give the away side the lead.

The Belles appeared shell-shocked as the visitors made the most of the spacious Keepmoat Stadium pitch. Former England winger Sue Smith had some joy down the left hand side but the Lady Black Cats' defence held firm and it was Sunderland that dominated.

They doubled the lead with just over 20 minutes played when a Steph Bannon free-kick found Furness, who powered a header into the net. 

Just before half time great build-up play from Emma Kelly and Mead set up Kelly McDougall for a fierce shot which flashed narrowly over. 

The Belles came out fighting in the second half and Rachael Laws was quickly called on to pull off a fantastic double save. Jessica Sigsworth went one-on-one with the Sunderland stopper but saw her effort denied, before Laws tipped Smith's follow-up on to the crossbar and away for a corner. 

The Belles had several chances to score but were frustrated by an excellent display from Laws and determined defending from Sunderland, including a Bannon goal-line clearance late in the second half.

Sunderland: Laws, Holmes, Greenwell, Bannon, Wilson, Furness, Ramshaw, McDougall, Kelly, Joice, Mead.

Subs: Beer, Potts, Alderson.