Beth Mead

Ladies net four

by Stuart Vose

Cup progress for womens' side.

Sunderland WFC 4 Sheffield WFC 1

Sunderland’s ladies side got their League Cup defence off to a great start with a battling win over Sheffield.

The Lady Black Cats were 3-0 up inside ten minutes thanks to Rachel Furness and a brace from Beth Mead in sweltering conditions at Eppleton CW.

However, Mick Mulhern’s side didn’t have it all their own way as a steely Sheffield outfit recovered to reduce the deficit on the stroke of half time before Natalie Gutteridge sealed victory midway through the second half.

Sunderland’s excellent start to the season continues as the ladies entered the game looking for their third straight win having scored 11 goals and conceded only one.

The tally was soon 14 as Furness netted from close range after just three minutes before striker Mead helped herself to a brace.

The youngster tapped home from six yards and then latched onto a through ball to coolly beat keeper Claire Wallhead.

Having seen their game plan torn to pieces, Sheffield kept their composure and almost pulled a goal back when Jodie Michalska saw a deflected shot fizz just wide.

However, the visitors did get on the scoresheet with half-time approaching as captain Stephanie Bannon accidentally nodded Leanne de Silva’s effort into her own net.

Sunderland began the second period on top but almost found themselves down to 10 players when keeper Helen Alderson took out a clean-through Michalska only to be shown just a yellow card.

And there was relief all round when Gutteridge made the game safe, firing into the corner of the net after good work from Furness and Sophie Williams.

Manager Mulhern said afterwards: “We worked extremely hard in the heat and that says a lot about the effort the girls put into pre-season.

“They should be pleased with their efforts.”

Sunderland: Alderson, Christon, Wilson (Salicki, 90), Bannon, Greenwell, Williams, McDougall, Furness, Ramshaw, Gutteridge, Mead (Atkinson, 78).