Sunderland Ladies came out on top in the Tees/Wear derby on Sunday. The FA Cup 3rd Round tie was played at Thornaby FC and resulted in an emphatic 6-1 victory for the Lady Black Cats. Keira Ramshaw scored a hat trick with Beth Mead, Natalie Gutteridge and a Becky Salicki penalty completing the scoring. And, but for a fine goalkeeping display from Middlesbrough keeper Laura Wilson, the scoring could well have reached double figures.
The game began tentatively in windy conditions on a very heavy pitch with neither side pushing forward much. Sophie Williams broke down the left but her cross failed to find the on rushing Beth Mead. Then Keira Ramshaw held the ball up well before bringing in Natalie Gutteridge but her snapshot was cleared as Sunderland began to take control. A poor goal kick fell to Mead and she closed in on goal only for Keeper Wilson to redeem herself with a fine save. Ellie Christon broke down the right to cross for Gutteridge to head down for Williams to send a tremendous shot crashing off the bar and as the ball came out Ramshaw’s effort was tipped over by Wilson. From the corner Boro tried to break but Christon stifled the attack and carried it forward before releasing Williams who played the ball through for Mead to go in bravely and lift the ball over the advancing keeper to give the visitors the lead in the 27th minute.
A Boro free kick was played into the Sunderland area but Clare Helm could only lift it over the bar without troubling Rachael Laws. Moments later a Vicki Greenwell free kick at the other end deceived everyone as it travelled through and keeper Wilson did well to hold on to it. The Wearsiders extended their lead after 35 minutes when Gutteridge played Rachel Furness through and her fine cross was met by Ramshaw who struck a low drive into the net. Further efforts from Furness and Ruth Sutcliffe came close as the visitors ended the half in complete control.
Middlesbrough Ladies 0 vs 2 Sunderland Ladies
The second period began as the first had ended with Sunderland pressing forward at every opportunity. The ball found its way to Williams on the edge of the home box and her volleyed effort brought another fine save from the overworked Wilson. A rare Boro attack was easily dealt with by Skipper Steph Bannon and following her clearance she went down in an off the ball incident which left blood streaming from a head wound and requiring hospital attention.
The visitors extended their lead after 64 minutes when following a patient build up Greenwell played in Furness who released Williams to hit a great cross for Ramshaw to power a header into the roof of the net. It was almost four soon after as Mead connected with a volley some 20 yards out and yet again Wilson denied her as she stretched to touch it over the bar. However from the resulting corner Sunderland stretched their lead in the 72nd minute. Williams’ delivery from the corner caused havoc in the home defence and Gutteridge was on hand to bundle the ball into the net.
The home side pulled a goal back in the 78th minute following a free kick on the left. As the ball came in Sunderland could not clear their lines and Jenny Dixon stole in to poke the ball home. From the kick off Sunderland immediately hit back to score their fifth of the afternoon as Ramshaw received the ball with her back to goal and she turned sharply to hit a powerful low drive into the bottom corner. Jordan Atkinson’s strong run down the right set up Abbey Joice to hit a shot which Wilson did well to hold. The scoring was completed in the 85th minute when following a scramble in the box Becky Salicki was impeded and the referee pointed to the spot. Salicki picked herself up to calmly dispatch the resulting penalty. In the dying moments Gutteridge sent a brilliant defence splitting pass for Williams to run on to but the goal her fine play deserved eluded her as the effort went agonisingly wide.
Middlesbrough Ladies 1 vs 6 Sunderland Ladies
Sunderland...Laws, Christon, Bannon(Joice), Salicki, Greenwell, Sutcliffe, Gutteridge, Furness, Williams, Ramshaw, Mead(Atkinson).