Sunderland Ladies 3-0 Lee University Flames
Sunderland Ladies made it four wins in as many games in pre-season, as three second-half goals secured victory over Lee University Flames.
The breakthrough came in 10 minutes after the restart via Jessica Brown, with Emily Hutchinson doubling the advantage on the hour mark before an own goal rounded out the game 12 minutes from time.
Keira Ramshaw and Mollie Lambert were both missing, seeing Melanie Reay shuffle the midfield and also handing Louise Griffiths her first start since returning from a summer spell with Asheville City.
Sunderland looked to get on the front foot early, Katie Barker curled a shot towards the top corner five minutes in, but Lee goalkeeper Taylor Green made a phenomenal save to turn the shot over the bar.
Barker had another chance four minutes later, Brown playing her through after some great hold up play from Abi Cottam.
Georgia Gibson and Maria Farrugia each had efforts on target, but Green stood firm to keep her side in the game.
With 22 minutes played, The Flames showed a flicker going forward. Avery Engles played a great cross towards the back post from deep on the left, but Lauren Weimer couldn’t connect to finish.
With 10 minutes of the first period to play, Bridget Galloway couldn’t have gone closer to breaking the deadlock as she turned Farrugia’s cross goalwards. Green once again saved Lee, clawing the ball from the line.
Two half-time substitutes were straight into the action, as Hutchinson tested Lee’s substitute ‘keeper Mollie Wheeler within two minutes of their introductions. Wheeler came out on top, turning the effort away.
Sage Sammeli went close for the visitors, but she couldn’t quite bend her cross-goal effort into the bottom corner in the 50th minute.
Within five minutes of that chance, Sunderland found the breakthrough. Jess Brown hammered the ball at the near post after Griffiths found the danger area with a cross from the right.
The lead was swiftly doubled on the hour mark, with Megan Beer’s first touch after coming on being the pinpoint cross that Hutchinson headed home for her first of pre-season.
Lee were still dangerous however, and in the 64th minute they broke rapidly after clearing a corner. Sammeli had the chance but Allison Cowling was equal to it, keeping Sunderland’s pre-season clean sheet intact.
Brown was responsible for the Lasses’ third with 12 minutes to play. Her dangerous cross from the right once again did the damage, with a Lee defender turning the ball past her own ‘keeper.
That was enough to see Sunderland though what was a physical test against a fit Lee University side.
The Black Cats will face their toughest challenge yet on Sunday, as Women’s Championship side Sheffield United visit the Academy of Light.
Sunderland Ladies: Cowling, Potts (Stewart 59’), McCatty (Herron 78’), Griffiths (Beer 59’), Brown (Skull 85’), Mullen (Warren 59’), Farrugia (Boyes 85’), Gibson, Barker (Blakey 73’), Galloway (Ward 85’), Cottam (Hutchinson 46’)