Ladies Report: Lasses edged out in first defeat

Bristol City Women 2-1 Sunderland AFC Ladies

Sunderland Ladies suffered their first defeat of the FA Women's Championship season on Sunday afternoon, being narrowly beaten 2-1 at Bristol City.

Melissa Johnson's penalty opened the scoring for the hosts at the Robins High Performance Centre, before Aimee Palmer's free-kick sailed into the net from distance by assistance of the wind.

Charlotte Potts headed her first goal since returning to the club with six minutes remaining, but the Lasses were just unable to carve out a chance to claim a point.

The match began with a good defensive spell from Sunderland, who remained organised to weather the Bristol City attack in the first half.

Abi Harrison's cross-shot came back off the crossbar for the hosts, before Grace McCatty's well-timed block against her former club denied Johnson.

Claudia Moan then got down well to her right to thwart Johnson once more, with Keira Ramshaw's strike just over representing the Lasses' main chance, following a great exchange between Faye Mullen and Jessica Brown down the right channel.

In the second half, the deadlock was broken just before the hour mark when a cross from the left-hand side brought an alleged handball, the referee pointing to the spot. Johnson took the kick, rolling it into the bottom-right corner.

And it was two in fortuitous circumstances for the home side just moments later, when an attempted long ball upfield from a dead ball situation by Palmer looped high into the net over the head of Moan to double the lead.

Shortly after Harrison was denied Bristol City's third by the offside flag, Potts' header from close range found the net to halve the deficit, with substitute Iris Achterhof striking wide with the only subsequent half-chance.

A first defeat of the season for Mel Reay's side, but certainly one to learn from ahead of next Sunday's local derby against Durham.

SUNDERLAND AFC: Moan; Mullen, McCatty, Potts, Griffiths; Brown (Scarr 63'), Herron (McInnes 78'), Kelly, Joice; Farrugia (Achterhof 63'); Ramshaw (c) (Manders 78').

Subs not used: Cowling, Blakey, Beer.

Attendance: 403

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