A Natalia Pablos Sanchon masterclass ensured Sunderland Ladies returned to Wearside empty-handed as Arsenal registered an emphatic win at Boreham Wood.

A lightening start from the Gunners saw them break the deadlock after just two minutes when Steph Bannon headed into her own net.

The hosts doubled their lead on 19 minutes when Bannon again turned into her own net after a deft ball across the face of goal from Asisat Oshoala.

Natalia then scored twice in nine minutes, firstly poking home Oshoala’s cross from the right before she unleashed an exquisite volley from outside the box.

Sunderland rallied in the second period and continued to battle away but Arsenal proved to be too strong and snatched a fifth when Dominique Janssen’s volley deflected past Rachael Laws.

Beth Mead netted a late consolation goal but Arsenal proved too strong and earned all three points.

While the Lasses suffered defeat at champions Chelsea prior to the FAWSL1 break, Carlton Fairweather’s side headed back to the capital fresh and rejuvenated for the second half of the season.

In his pre-match notes Fairweather spoke of the positive impact he had seen since the Ladies returned to training and that meant he made just one change to his starting XI which saw Rachel Furness come in for Lucy Staniforth.

However, Arsenal dealt the visitors the worst possible start when they raced out of the blocks and into an early lead as Bannon headed a floated cross into her own goal.

The Gunners were rampant in the early stages and while Sunderland managed to steady the ship slightly, the hosts doubled their lead in the 19th minute.

Oshoala burst down the right-hand side and fired a deft ball into the box and Bannon was helpless as she conceded her second own goal of the afternoon.

The Lady Black Cats responded well to their credit, but just as they seemed to be gathering some momentum Natalia poked home a third after some excellent skill from Oshoala saw her breeze past Tori Williams.

From there on the Lasses were always chasing the game but just before half-time it got worse as Vicky Losada cleverly flicked the ball over Sunderland’s defence and into the path of Natalia who volleyed home her second.

The half-time interval came as a welcome break for the Lasses and a chance to rethink their game plan for the second 45.

A spirited and determined Black Cats returned to the pitch and within minutes of the restart Mead went within inches of latching onto a mistake from the Arsenal stopper.

However, on an afternoon when it just wasn’t going for the visitors, Janssen netted an exquisite volley which deflected past Laws and nestled into the bottom corner. 

Stephanie Roche smacked the crossbar late on before Mead arrowed a strike into the bottom corner as the Lasses scored a late consolation goal.

Sunderland Ladies starting XI: Laws, Brown, Bannon, Sharp, Williams, Furness, Chaplen, McDougall (Hill, 45), Ramshaw (Joice, 86), Roche, Mead.
Unused subs:
Olsen, Potts, Holmes.

Attendance: 804

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