Lady Black Cats blitz Barnet.
Sunderland WFC 7 Barnet WFC 0
Sunderland WFC's first home game of the season ended in a stylish win as the Lady Black Cats blitzed Barnet.
Mick Mulhern's defending title holders were 3-0 up at half time and added four second-half goals to send a defiant message to the rest of the league.
The hosts were in cruise control throughout after taking the lead through last season's leading scorer, Beth Mead, after just four minutes.
The young striker slotted home from eight yards and the home side missed two excellent chances before doubling their advantage just before the half-hour.
Sophie Williams' pinpoint pass picked out Keira Ramshaw who lobbed a delightful shot over the head of the Barnet keeper from an acute angle.
Mead then had a hand in the third goal, forcing Barnet keeper Cherie Rowlands to spill her powerful drive before Ramshaw fired home the rebound.
The first half had belonged almost exclusively to Sunderland and a home win was assured seven minutes after the break when Kelly McDougall's cross-shot struck the post and beat a helpless Rowlands.
Now it was a case of how many goals Mulhern's dominant side would score. Mead tapped home the fifth after Williams' free-kick came back off the bar before McDougall scored a penalty.
With time running out, Williams hit the post while at the other end keeper Rachael Laws – a virtual spectator throughout – maintained her clean sheet with a fine save to deny Jenny Kikomeko.
A superb home performance was topped off two minutes from time when substitute Abby Holmes drove into the box and coolly slotted home.
A delighted Mulhern said afterwards: “We dominated from start to finish against an experienced side.
“The players were fantastic today and that's not a word I use often.”
Sunderland: Laws, Christon (Holmes), Wilson, Bannon (Chidester), Greenwell, Ramshaw, McDougall, Furness (Caldwell), Williams, Mead, Gutteridge.