Ladies strike late

by Ashley Houghton

Last-gasp winner secures three points.

Sunderland WFC 3 Coventry City Ladies 2

An injury-hit ladies side protected their unbeaten record in the 2012-13 season with a 3-2 victory over Coventry City.

Two goals from Rachel Furness and a Sophie Williams strike secured the three points for the Lady Black Cats after Ruth Sutcliffe’s own goal and Nicole Dale’s late strike looked to have earned the Midlands side a point.

The visitors took the lead on the half-hour as the unfortunate Sutcliffe glanced a Coventry free-kick into her own goal.

It took just ten minutes for Sunderland to get back on level terms, Williams was brought down in the box before Furness confidently despatched the resulting penalty in front of a bumper crowd at the Hetton Centre.

Mick Mulhern’s side gained the advantage after just a minute of the second half, Beth Mead beating two Coventry defenders before squaring for Williams who slid home.

The visitors equalised 20 minutes from time when a City free-kick bobbled around the box before Nicole Dale lashed home from an acute angle.

Furness grabbed the winner for the ladies deep into injury-time; she turned and unleashed a 25-yard volley into the top corner, leaving Susan Wood in the Coventry goal with no chance.

Mulhern was delighted with his side’s character as they extended their lead at the top of the FA Women’s Premier League to two points with a game in hand.

He said: “The squad has been stretched with injuries but we showed a lot of character today.

“That’s what I asked for at half time and the girls responded with a better second half display - we kept on fighting until the end and that’s what champions do.”

Sunderland: Alderson, Christon, Bannon, Salicki, Greenwell, Chidester, Sutcliffe, Furness, Williams, Mead, Ramshaw.

Subs not used: Atkinson, Caldwell, Laws, Wilson.