Sunderland Ladies 4-1 Guiseley Vixens
Sunderland Ladies took an important three points with a comfortable win against Guiseley as a number of their rivals dropped points.
The Lady Black Cats got three in the first half, with Bridget Galloway finishing off a cross from close range to open the scoring in the fifth minute before Niamh McLaughlin doubled the advantage in the 13th and Keira Ramshaw added a third in the 39th.
The second half had to wait a while for any goals but it got its first came via a brilliant Grace McCatty volley in the 87th minute. Guiseley pulled one back in the 88th minute, Sophie Walton the scorer.
A defensive crisis for Sunderland, with five defenders missing, saw only two changes from their side that beat Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers. Faye Mullen came in to replace Louise Griffiths at right back and Emily Hutchinson slotted in at an unfamiliar left back to cover Amelia Kemp.
Sunderland got off to a quick start, opening the scoring after just five minutes. Galloway got across her marker to finish Katie Barker’s low cross at close range.
The hosts would have a second only eight minutes later. Ramshaw chipped the ball to the back post where McLaughlin headed home. The Irish winger readjusted well to get to the cross that was slightly behind her to get her fourth goal in three games.
Sunderland should have had a third just after the half-hour mark. Ramshaw once again crossed to the back post towards the run of Emily Hutchinson, but Galloway went for the ball and couldn’t keep her header down as she stretched for it.
The third would come just eight minutes later and it would be a third goal from a cross from the right. Faye Mullen the architect this time as she played a low ball to the front post where Ramshaw swept it in.
Sunderland had plenty of chances within 10 minutes of the restart. Ramshaw hammered a powerful effort narrowly over the bar in the 51st minute before Galloway went close twice in quick succession.
The striker’s first effort was saved by Bethan Davies, Maria Farrugia picked up the rebound and laid Galloway off once again but this time the shot was wide.
Ramshaw went close once again in the 55th minute, another powerful effort aimed at the near top corner flashed inches wide.
After assisting the first goal, Barker almost got one of her own 10 minutes from time. The winger went through one-on-one with Davies, shooting towards the bottom corner. However, the Guiseley ‘keeper got the faintest of touches to slow the ball up, allowing it to be cleared.
The fourth goal would come in the 87th minute. Centre back McCatty unleashed a perfect volley from the edge of the area, finding the top corner.
Guiseley would pull one back just a minute later. Walton’s wide free-kick dropped into the Sunderland net at the far post.
Despite not holding onto the clean sheet, the Lady Black Cats take a huge three points with Derby, Huddersfield, Fylde and Stoke all dropping points and losing ground in the race for second before Sunderland travel to Stoke next weekend.
Sunderland Ladies: Cowling, Mullen (Gibson 68’), McCatty, Potts, Hutchinson (Skull 86’), Lambert, Ramshaw, Farrugia (Young 68’), Barker, McLaughlin, Galloway
Subs not used: Warren
Guiseley: Davies, Ciesielski (Ash 46’), Gill, Fuller, Griffiths, Auker (Stube 25’), Hunter, Viso, Walton, Casper (Hunt 62’), Stanfield