Sunday’s 2-1 win away at Fylde marked Sunderland Ladies’ first victory against the Coasters in four attempts, but also the full debut of another young summer signing.
Neve Herron made her third appearance of the season; however, it was the 16-year-old defender’s full bow for Melanie Reay’s side, but not as she thought it would be. Herron stepped into the midfield, deputising for Maria Farrugia who is with the Malta national side.
“It was such an exciting experience playing in such a huge game against Newcastle and an honour for Mel to trust me to play.
“To make my first start for the club against Fylde, a side that the team has struggled against, was such a big step considering I had not started I was so excited when I found out I was starting.”
Despite her age, Herron has shown a maturity as she made the step from Sunderland RTC to the senior side, and she’s felt confident as she’s done so.
“I was not nervous about any of the games that I played in more excited.”
Herron has already played in multiple positions throughout pre-season, before featuring as a wing-back and central midfielder in the first two league games. Versatility is a string Herron is pleased to have in her bow.
“I think it will help in my senior career as it means that managers have a variety of positions that they can play me in.
“It also helps the team as they can rely on me to work hard in whatever position I play.
Herron isn’t the only youngster to turn out for the Black Cats’ first team this season, as she’s joined by fellow RTC graduate Jessica Brown, with the pair also playing under Melanie Reay at Gateshead College.
“It was really useful having a friend by my side as we can relate on different ideas and thoughts that we have of both Sunderland and college.
“I also think having Jess there means we’ve pushed each other to be better players on and off the field.”
It’s a quick turnaround for the lasses, who play Middlesbrough on Wednesday before playing Hull the following Sunday, but Herron is positive about the Tees-Wear derby and beyond.
“I know that Middlesbrough are a strong opponent, however, the team’s determination and togetherness to make sure we push for promotion is huge and it’s why I have no doubt we will go into the game with the right mindset and get the three points.
“I am also looking forward to hopefully getting more game time in the second derby.
“I am personally looking forward to progressing as a player and becoming a better individual, from the team I am looking forward to seeing how far we go in the league to get promotion and the cup.”
See the Lasses line-up for the second time in four days as they take on Middlesbrough Women this Wednesday. The Tees-Wear derby kicks off at 7:45pm at Billingham Town’s Bedford Terrace ground.