Sunderland celebrated the news of their elevation to the FA Womens Super League in style with a fine 4-0 victory at Cardiff City Ladies on Sunday. Two goals from Sarah McFadden and a goal each from Beth Mead and Sophie Williams ensured that the Lady Black Cats keep their National Premier League title push on track as they consolidated top spot.
Cardiff began brightly taking full advantage of the strong wind and forcing two early corners which were comfortably dealt with by the Sunderland defence ably led by Steph Bannon and Gemma Wilson. Sunderland began to settle into their rhythm as Sophie Williams linked well with Kelly McDougall to release Abbey Joice who set up Beth Mead but her effort skimmed the wrong side of the post. The visitors got the breakthrough after 18 minutes following fine play again by Williams as she played the ball forward for Sarah McFadden to smash the ball home. Williams was causing problems with her pace as she got behind the defence following a great ball from Joice, to fire in a shot which the keeper did well to push away. The visitors came close to extending their lead from the resulting corner as McFadden out jumped the Cardiff defence to glance a header off the bar. Then Keira Ramshaw and Joice swapped passes but the Cardiff defence recovered well to clear the danger. Sunderland were in full flow as Vicki Greenwell overlapped to beat a defender and cross but Ramshaw just failed to reach it. Then Joice cleverly made space for herself before releasing Mead but her shot went just wide of the post.
HT...Cardiff City LFC 0 vs 1 Sunderland WFC
Sunderland continued to press forward at every opportunity and they extended their lead early in the second half following a quick break forward which left the home defence flat footed. McFadden played a superb ball over the top and Mead was first to react as she controlled well before slamming the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Megan Beer worked the ball forward well and Mead forced a corner which was delivered dangerously into the middle by McDougall for Wilson to head narrowly wide. Greenwell and Williams linked well down the left but Ramshaw just failed to connect with the resulting cross. The Wearsiders grabbed a third soon after with the goal of the game when McFadden, who was masterful in midfield, played a perfect ball forward to Williams who volleyed brilliantly into the top right of the goal. To their credit Cardiff never gave up but the visiting defence stood up firm to anything the home side had to offer. Sunderland sealed an emphatic win with their fourth goal of the game following great link up play between Joice and McDougall and as the ball was played over McFadden battled her way through 3 defenders to slot home her second of the game. The Lady Black Cats continued to dominate the remainder of the game as Atkinson, Wilson and Salicki all went close.
FT...Cardiff City LFC 0 vs 4 Sunderland WFC
Sunderland...Laws, Beer, Bannon, Wilson, Greenwell, Ramshaw, McDougall, McFadden, Joice(Salicki), Williams, Mead(Atkinson) Subs (not used).. Holmes, Christon, Kelly.
Boss Mick Mulhern was philosophical after the game...Its been an exciting week with the Super League announcement. But it was vital that we remained focused on the job in hand. Todays victory is another step nearer our main goal and Im delighted.