Sunderland Ladies strengthened their position at the top of the Women�s National Premier League with an impressive and emphatic victory over a Portsmouth side who were simply blown away in a devastating first half performance. The Lady Black Cats gave a scintillating show as they scored seven goals without reply, six of which arrived in a breathtaking first half. Beth Mead and Keira Ramshaw scored a brace apiece with Rachel Furness, Kelly McDougall and Natalie Gutteridge also on the scoresheet. Sunderland go into the festive period with a five point lead, unbeaten in the league for 14 months and well on course to retain their title.

Sunderland began brightly in the sunshine at Hetton with Keira Ramshaw and Beth Mead both coming close in the opening few minutes. Becky Salicki broke up a Portsmouth attack to feed Abby Holmes on the right who in turn played in Rachel Furness to fire just over from the edge of the box. The home side took the lead following a break down the left. Natalie Gutteridge played in Mead to set Ramshaw clear and her strong drive went under keeper Sadie Blakely after 7 minutes. Sunderland continued to press and increased their lead after 12 minutes. Abbey Joice and Ramshaw linked well before laying the ball into the path of Furness who hit a thunderous effort from 25 yards to give Blakely no chance.


Joice and Ramshaw had efforts beaten away before a great cross from Kelly McDougall found the head of Mead but her diving effort went narrowly wide. Mead was not to be denied however when following good work from Furness the young forward hit a crisp strike into the bottom right hand corner from the edge of the area in the 24th minute. Sunderland were rampant now as they played the sharp fluent football which had deserted them recently and it was no surprise when they extended their lead after 32 minutes. Following a left wing corner which was partially cleared McDougall swung the ball back in for the stretching Ramshaw to hit home her second at the far post. The impressive Joice linked well again with McDougall to set up Ramshaw but her effort lifted just over the bar. Mead picked up the ball in midfield to run strongly through on goal and despite several challenges she drove the ball under the advancing keeper for her second and Sunderland�s fifth of the game after only 37 minutes. Pompey came forward in a rare attack as Shelly Cox crossed but Charley Wilson headed wide from a good position. Moments later Kaylee Edwards got above the home defence to head goal ward but Rachael Laws collected comfortably as Pompey enjoyed their best spell. McDougall and Mead went close at the other end before a sixth goal arrived on the stroke of half time. Gutteridge and Mead combined well to play in McDougall to place a shot beyond the despairing Wilson in the Portsmouth goal.


HT...Sunderland WFC 6  vs  0  Portsmouth FC Ladies


Steph Bannon intercepted a through ball and released Vicky Greenwell down the right, she in turn brought in Mead who squared for Joice to strike but her shot was turned around the post by Wilson. The resulting corner produced a goalmouth scramble and Wilson was relieved to smother the danger at the third attempt. Ramshaw then struck a shot narrowly wide following a good linkup between Joice and Mead. A Portsmouth corner was only partially cleared and Kirsty McGee struck the ball wide. The final goal of the game arrived after 65 minutes when Mead cleverly beat her marker to cross for Gutteridge to powerfully head home from close in.  An effort from Cox failed to trouble Laws before a swift break from Mead down the right resulted in Jordan Atkinson chipping the ball narrowly over the bar. McDougall�s cheeky back heeled effort nearly caught the visitors out but Wilson recovered well to save. Greenwell and Atkinson combined well to set up Mead but her snapshot went wide. Sunderland had a late scare when a Pompey free kick from McGee was tipped onto the bar by Laws then a weak back pass was intercepted by Cox who threaded the ball across an unguarded goal but Bannon and Salicki managed to scramble the ball clear. In the final action of the game Joice set Atkinson free but her strike narrowly cleared the upright.


FT...Sunderland WFC 7  vs  0  Portsmouth FC Ladies


Sunderland..Laws, Holmes(Christon), Bannon, Salicki, Greenwell, Ramshaw, Furness, McDougall, Joice, Gutteridge(Atkinson), Mead.

Subs (not used)..Wilson, Caldwell, Chidester.


Boss Mick Mulhern was very happy after the game; �I thought we were fantastic today from back to front. Our decision making was first class and we could have had a hatful.�


Report - Maurice Alderson

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16 Dec 2012
Sunderland 7 Portsmouth 0
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