Manchester City Women 3-0 Sunderland Ladies
Georgia Stanway scored a hat-trick as undefeated Manchester City upstaged Sunderland Ladies in the FA Women’s Super League on Sunday at the Academy Stadium.
The Lady Black Cats began the game well but were undone after 17 minutes when Stanway caught Rachael Laws off guard at her near post.
Rachel Furness then went close from range as the Lasses responded, but City reasserted their quality in the second period as Stanway swept home a fine move.
Stanway capped off her fine performance with a speculative strike drive from range which rifled into the top corner in the closing stages.
With last weekend’s 4-0 home defeat to Arsenal still ringing in the Lasses ears, Carlton Fairweather’s side had no time to rest as they faced a seismic challenge at league-leaders Manchester City.
Keen to go into the month’s break with a morale boosting performance, the Lady Black Cats knew they would have to be at their very best if they were to get anything against an in form City side who have conceded just two league goals all season.
Game management was crucial and in the opening stages the Ladies managed to temper City’s hopes of a high-octane start.
While Jane Ross saw her header flick off the bar and Megan Campbell had an effort well-saved by Laws, Sunderland had begun the game brightly and were more than comfortable after 15 minutes.
However, as the clock ticked into 17 minutes City made the breakthrough.
Stanway got the better of Dan Brown and caught Laws out as she arrowed her strike into the keepers near post.
From there on, City were in cruise control and while Sunderland worked hard to make life difficult for the hosts, the league-leaders’ quality came through.
The Lady Black Cats though to their credit did limit City to few clear sights of goal and grew in confidence in the latter stages of the first period as Furness tested Karen Bardsley from range.
While City went into the break deserved leaders, Sunderland’s late flurry of pressure gave them plenty of renewed optimism to take into the second period.
Fairweather rallied his troops at the break and the Lasses came out flying as Mead was firstly ruled offside as she tested Bardsley before blazing a wild effort over the bar.
But just as Sunderland looked to be gaining an attacking impetuous, Stanway snatched her second of the afternoon after a free-flowing move.
City broke down the right-hand side and as the play moved over to the left flank, the winger swept home her second as the hosts gained a crucial two-goal cushion.
The Lady Black Cats responded well and went close to halving the deficit when Abby Holmes’ cross was chested down by Maddie Hill, Mead latched onto the ball but failed to hit the target from 12 yards as she dragged her attempt wide.
While Sunderland’s work ethic was unquestionable, City profited time after time as the Lasses conceded possession cheaply.
And with eight minutes left on the clock City asserted their dominance for a third time, Stanway sealed her hat-trick with an outrageous strike from 20-yards.
Laws could only stand and watch as Stanway’s rifled attempt flew past her and clipped the inside of the post on its way in.
The result means City have stretched their unbeaten run to 10 games as the season enters a four week break during August.
Sunderland Ladies starting XI: Laws, Holmes, Williams, Sharp, Bannon, Brown, Chaplen, Staniforth, Furness (Potts, 75), Hill, Mead
Unused subs: Ramshaw, McDougall, Joice, Olsen, Beer