Sophie Williams

Ladies' winning start continues

by Stuart Vose

Lady Black Cats see off City.

Manchester City WFC 2 Sunderland WFC 3

Sunderland WFC’s 100% start to the season continues after they saw off Manchester City at a rain-soaked Sportcity.

Beth Mead scored twice and Sophie Williams added a goal as Mick Mulhern’s side retained their three-point lead at the top of the table.

Newly-promoted City found themselves behind early on as Sunderland wasted no time in stamping their authority on the game.

Williams’ cross caused confusion in the home defence and Mead, always dangerous in front of goal, headed in from close range.

The pouring rain affected proceedings but City gradually established a foothold in the game and levelled through a penalty from Lyndsay Savage after a Sunderland defender was penalised for handball.

The goal preceded a spell of City dominance, although it was Sunderland who came closest to scoring before the half time when Kelly McDougall’s brilliant 25-yard strike was tipped over.

The game looked in the balance at the break but Sunderland came out much the stronger in the second period.

Keira Ramshaw and Abby Holmes combined well to tee up Williams, who found the corner of the goal with a low drive.

But the hosts were level against the run of play as a shot from City’s Lee skidded off the sodden turf and squirmed under goalkeeper Rachael Laws.

Nonetheless, Sunderland showed their mettle to strike decisively with City’s celebrations barely over.

Natalie Gutteridge’s cool interception in the middle set up an attack and she fed Mead, who beat two defenders to slot home the winner.

Manager Mulhern said afterwards: “We were excellent, particularly in the second half.

“City are a good side and I had to change one or two things at half time. The response was magnificent and the result thoroughly deserved.”

Sunderland: Laws, Bannon, Holmes, Wilson, Greenwell, Williams, Furness, Gutteridge, McDougall, Ramshaw, Mead.