Sophie Williams of Sunderland WFC

Ladies notch away win

Lady Black Cats get season off to flying start.

Portsmouth 1 Sunderland WFC 4

Sunderland Women made a flying start to the defence of their Women’s Premier League title with an emphatic victory over newly-promoted Portsmouth.

The home side took the game to the Lady Black Cats, enjoying much of the early possession in difficult conditions on the South Coast.

But following a goalless first half, Sunderland stepped up a gear after the interval, with Sophie Williams and Beath Mead missing chances to break the deadlock before Vicki Greenwell put the visitors into the lead with a powerful 30-yard strike on the hour.

Two minutes later Mick Mulhern’s side doubled their lead, Kelly McDougall playing a pin-point pass to Williams who calmly slotted the ball past the onrushing Portsmouth keeper.

Portsmouth halved the deficit almost immediately when Charley Wilson’s effort deflected over the helpless Rachael Laws and dropped into the net.

But with 14 minutes remaining, Sunderland restored their two-goal advantage when Mead lashed in from the edge of the box and then put the game beyond doubt through a coolly-taken effort from McDougall.

Following the game manager Mulhern said: “We were playing a newly promoted team who are obviously used to winning and they provided us with a stern test today and the 30-degree temperatures made it harder.

“We were excellent in the second half and our winning mentality shone through and we thoroughly deserved the points today. I’m delighted.”

Sunderland: Laws, Christon, Wilson, Greenwell, Halliday (Holmes), Furness, Williams, Gutteridge (Atkinson), McDougall, Ramshaw, Mead (Caldwell).

Subs Not Used: Alderson, Bannon.