Sunderland Ladies took a sixth straight win with the 3-1 victory at Sheffield that saw them take top spot in the FA Women’s National League North.
The Lady Black Cats had the best of the early play, Bridget Galloway being the first to challenge Sheffield goalkeeper Elizabeth Hobson, with the hosts’ stopper keeping out Galloway’s effort from a tight angle.
Keira Ramshaw was next to properly test Hobson, hitting a low effort from the edge of the area, forcing Hobson to make the save low to her right in the 23rd minute.
However, Sunderland only had to wait a minute for the break through to come. Katie Barker, who had been a thorn in the side of the Sheffield defence early on, found the net with a shot across goal from the right hand side of the penalty area, after Georgia Gibson played the ball to her.
Gibson forced Hobson into action herself with 10 minutes of the first half to play. Her low shot from outside the area was saved by the Sheffield ‘keeper.
Early substitute Jordan Atkinson had a curled effort saved comfortably by Hobson after she cut in from the left to hit the shot.
With five minutes of the half remaining Sheffield got an equaliser, Millee Clarke scored after Sunderland failed to clear their lines, with Clarke getting the chance after Sophy Stonehouse made a good save but the Sheffield played got to the rebound first.
Gibson and Barker each had long distance efforts saved before the break but the score remained level at half-time.
It only took Sunderland two second half minutes to find a second break through. Ramshaw won back possession just outside the Sheffield penalty box, before smashing a shot into the bottom corner at the near post.
Galloway had a chance with 10 minutes after the restart, getting a powerful shot off under pressure from a tight angle, but Hobson saved with her legs.
With 66 minutes played, Ramshaw got her second of the afternoon, firing in a powerful effort from just inside the area to give Sunderland a bit of breathing space.
Grace McCatty went close with 10 minutes remaining, heading just over from close range after she got onto the end of a Gibson corner from the left.
Atkinson went close in the final minute as she lifted the ball past the ‘keeper after going through one-on-one, however the ball went wide at the far post having been just too heavy for Galloway to apply a finishing touch too.
While the result could have been more comfortable, Sunderland moved to top of the table with their fifth consecutive win in the league.
Sheffield: Hobson, Havard, Housley ©, Butcher, Russell, Hawcroft (Heald 64’), Wortley, Johnson, Clarke (Wainwright 72’), Neary, Tinsley
Sunderland: Stonehouse, Brown, McCatty, Griffiths, Warren (Kemp 73’), Barker, Gibson, Young, Ramshaw, Hutchinson (Atkinson 33’), Galloway