Sunderland ladies sweep aside Blackburn with a comfortable 2-0 win.
From the outset Sunderland’s Rachael Furness stamped her authority on the game with a commanding performance in the centre of the park. Her combination with winger Sophie Williams was becoming a major threat to the Blackburn back line and soon enough a chance was carved out following a superb cross field ball from Furness which Williams latched onto, but managed to lift just over the bar.
Furness was once again troubling the Blackburn defence with a driving run from the centre of midfield ending with a shot agonisingly wide of the left hand upright.
The combination of Northern Ireland International Furness and Williams was proving too hot for Blackburn to handle as Williams once again shot narrowly wide.
With Sunderland being wasteful with their chances, Blackburn slowly started to grow in confidence and began to play some very good passing football, with good touches and play from front two Nic Forster and Keeleigh Savage but this pretty play was soon snuffed out by the impressive centre back partnership of Sunderland’s Gemma Wilson and Vicky Greenwell.
Furness almost got the breakthrough Sunderland’s play deserved with a bullet header from a perfectly weighted Sophie Halliday cross, but the midfielder was thwarted by the post.
These wasted chances almost cost Sunderland, as a break down Blackburn’s right ended with a low cross into the six yard box, but from just four yards out Keeleigh Savage put the ball wide, sparing Sunderland’s blushes.
With Savage letting Sunderland off the hook with that miss, the Lady Black Cats had to start turning their chances into goals, and just before the break they did. Sophie Halliday overlapped Williams and then provided another pin point cross onto the head of the impressive Furness, who guided the ball off the bar and into the net passed the helpless Gemma Jackson.
After the break the game was effectively over as a contest as almost straight from the kick off Natalie Gutteridge spotted Jackson off her line and cleverly lobbed the Blackburn keeper from 25 yards out, the task for Blackburn was looking increasingly tough.
Rovers did begin to push on and threaten, Nic Forster lobbed a shot wide, and there were a couple of counter attacks where it was 3 Blackburn attackers on 3 Sunderland defenders but they failed to capitalize on both occasions. Sunderland though once again were the dominant side controlling the play in the centre of the park through Furness and holding midfielder Hannah Caldwell.
Blackburn did have some late chances to try and grab a goal, with Nic Forster hitting a shot from just inside the box, bringing a good save from substitute keeper Helen Alderson, and a good run from central midfielder Hannah Forster lead to a chance but a lack of composure from the Rovers number 6 and the opportunity was spurned.
2-0 the game ended, a comprehensive and comfortable win for Sunderland ladies and a great warm up before their first league game away to Portsmouth on Sunday the 19th August.
Match Report by Dominic Hewitson
Sunderland... Laws (Alderson), Christon (Beer), Wilson (Bell), Greenwell, Halliday, Atkinson, Caldwell, Furness, Gutteridge, Williams (Hockaday), Ramshaw.