Sunderland Women suffered their first defeat of the season against Blackburn Rovers Women in the Barclays Women’s Championship.
After a run of nine games unbeaten, Chelsea Ferguson’s first-half goal meant Rovers claimed the three points.
Mel Reay’s side dominated possession in the first half, with Blackburn sitting deep and absorbing pressure.
Sunderland finally found a gap through the visiting defence 28 minutes in with a lovely reverse pass from Mollie Rouse to pick out Liz Ejupi, but her shot was blocked by the defender.
The 36th minute saw a neat skill from Grace Ede to beat two defenders and cross into the box, with Rouse jumping and just missing the header.
The Black Cats continued to build up play and look for openings, this time with Rouse and Jessica Brown playing a quick one-two before the latter’s shot was blocked, a recurring pattern of the game.
Blackburn’s first real opportunity of the game led to their goal in the 56th minute, with Ferguson’s first shot saved, and the striker followed up to put the ball into the corner.
Brown continued to threaten down the right following her introduction in the second half, this time crossing to Katy Watson, but her shot went over the bar.
With Sunderland pressing for an equaliser, there were two appeals for penalties, with the ball appearing to strike the arm of a Blackburn defender on both occasions, but both decisions were waved away.
The Lasses now have one week to prepare for a trip on the road as they face Charlton Athletic Women at the Valley next Sunday – a top-of-the-table clash.
SAFC Women: Moan, Beer (Brown 63’), McCatty, Westrup ©, Ede, Fenton, Kitching (Griffiths 63’), Rouse, McAteer (Corbyn 79’), Jones (Watson 63’), Ejupi (Scarr 79’).
Subs not used: Borthwick, McInnes, West.