Sunderland Women were narrowly beaten in a close Barclays Women’s Championship encounter against Southampton FC Women at Eppleton.
Saints substitute Katie Wilkinson’s 79th minute goal was all that separated the two sides.
Following brilliant pressing from Liz Ejupi to close the defender down and win the ball, the Lasses had the first opportunity of the game, with the ball eventually falling to Emily Scarr who put her shot over the bar.
Megan Beer was the next to test the opposition goal, floating a cross to the back post, causing all sorts of problems for goalkeeper Kayla Rendell, but the ‘keeper managed to tip it over.
Mel Reay’s side continued to threaten, with chances falling to Emma Kelly from range and a header from Ejupi which almost found the bottom corner, but both were thwarted by Rendell.
The second half started in similar fashion, with Scarr cutting onto her right foot and shooting just over the bar.
Sunderland managed to stop any Saints opportunity for most of the game with some impressive defending. The 75th minute saw Grace McCatty put in a huge block to deny Katie Wilkinson.
Minutes later, the Lasses didn’t manage to clear their lines and Wilkinson was on hand to smash the only goal of the game into the back of the net.
The visitors’ goalscorer threatened once again 84 minutes in, rattling the crossbar from a shot.
The last opportunity of the match came from a free kick which was met by Brenna McPartlan, but her header was flicked just wide of the post.
With the international break coming up, the Lasses have a three-week break to rest and recover before returning to league action against Lewes on the road on March 5.
SAFC Women: Moan, Beer, McCatty, Westrup, Holmes, Kelly ©, D. Brown, J. Brown (Watson 79’), Joice (McPartlan 79’), Scarr, Ejupi.
Substitutes: Cowling, Morgan, Ede, McInnes, Borthwick.