Sunderland Ladies 4-0 Fylde Ladies
Four goals from four scorers saw Sunderland Ladies make a winning return to FA Women’s National League action against Fylde.
Bridget Galloway and Keira Ramshaw scored a free-kick each in the first-half, before Neve Herron netted a brilliant third 10 minutes after the restart. Maria Farrugia rounded out the result with 20 minutes to play with an excellent solo strike.
Georgia Gibson dropped out of the starting XI while Louise Griffiths was ruled out due to illness, Katie Barker and Faye Mullen replaced them after last week’s 4-1 cup win away to Fylde.
The visitors could have been down to 10 within two minutes as Galloway was fouled on her way to goal by the last defender, Sasha Rowe, but the striker got nothing more than a free-kick.
That was enough to give her side the lead though, as she curled the set-piece into Bethany Powney’s left.
Ashleigh Hayes had Fylde’s best early chance, but Claudia Moan saved high to her right to keep the lead in tact.
Ramshaw and Farrugia each went close as the game approached the half-hour mark but fired wide and high respectively.
Sunderland piled on the pressure and after stealing the ball in Fylde’s half 33 minutes in, Herron was tripped as she went through on goal, once again by the last defender with a similar result. Ramshaw this time dispatched the free-kick, scoring goal number 76 in her 196th appearance.
The remained of the first half was broken up with injuries and Sunderland held their advantage at the break.
The Black Cats could have had three in quick succession to start the second half. Galloway hit the bar and forced a good save out of Powney on her Fylde debut, with Mollie Lambert also testing the new ‘keeper.
But 10 minutes after the restart, Herron produced a composed finish to make it three after a pinpoint, curling cross from Lambert as she teamed up with Katie Barker on the right.
Galloway could have had her second only two minutes later after rounding the ‘keeper but hit the far post as the angle tightened.
Farrugia would extend the lead with an excellent solo effort. The Malta international picked the ball up just inside the Fylde half before beating a number of defenders and the ‘keeper one-on-one, like Galloway, her second goal against Fylde in seven days.
Ramshaw could have doubled her tally but saw a good header skim the bar after a nice cross from Herron with 15 to play.
Sunderland took win number 15 of the season from 16 games, and extend their lead to six points with two games in hand to second place Derby County, with a particularly special clean sheet owing to a very solid defensive display as well as the attacking output.
Sunderland Ladies: Moan, Herron (Beer 82’), Mullen, Potts, Ramshaw ©, Lambert, Galloway, Brown, Barker (Gibson 82’), McCatty, Farrugia (Blakey 86’)
Fylde Ladies: Powney, Forster, Carroll, Young ©, Stevens, Hollinshead, Merrin, Rowe, Payton (Wilcock 77’), Taylor, Hayes (Webster 63’)