Report: Ladies lose season opener

Sunderland Ladies fell to a narrow defeat on the opening day of the FA Women's National League season.

Katie Thomas gave Burnley a first half lead with a 32nd minute strike but Emily Scarr equalised after 72 minutes.

Burnley would snatch the win in the late on though, Sarah Agger found the net with only six minutes to play.

Sunderland were missing Maria Farrugia, Jessica Brown and Holly Manders to kick-off the season, but handed debuts to Emily Scarr, Olivia Watt and Abbey Joice.

The game was tight early on, with Neve Herron having Sunderland's best chance. The midfielder's powerful effort forced a fingertip save from Lauren Bracewell.

Despite Sunderland seeing several chances come and go, Burnley would open the scoring just after the half hour mark. Thomas took possession after a challenge in midfield, curling an effort into the top corner.

Sunderland pushed hard for an equaliser either side of the break but chances were hard to come by.

But with 18 minutes to play, debutant Scarr got her chance and took it. The winger curled a well hit free-kick into the top corner to draw the hosts level.

Megan Beer then twice came to the Black Cat's rescue, making a vital last ditch challenge and a goal line clearance within four minutes to hold the scores level.

Scarr almost doubled up as the game moved into the last 10 minutes, but her effort after cutting in from the left couldn't quite curl in at the far post.

Sunderland continued to push for a winner but Burnley would snatch it as Agger got clear on the right. She broke into the box and found the top corner at the near post to send the host away with three points.

It is Sunderland's first league defeat since April 2019, but they go again with an away trip to Hull City next Sunday.

Sunderland AFC: Cowling, Herron, Mullen, McCatty, Griffiths (McInnes 72'), Ramshaw ©, Scarr, Blakey, Watt, Joice, Beer

Subs Not Used: Moan, Corney, Warren, Studholme

Burnley FC: Bracewell, Greenhalgh, Bickett, Wilson, Agger, Hope, Worthington, Hamer, Owen, Priestley, Thomas, (Rathburn)

Subs Not Used: Shirtcliffe, Tobin, Gibbins

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