The top two in the Womens National Premier League clashed at the Hetton Centre on Wednesday evening in front of a large and appreciative crowd. In an enthralling encounter both sides put in plenty of effort and had chances galore but neither could break the deadlock in what was a superb advert for the womens game.
Sunderland showed early promise as Sophie Williams and Demi Stokes combined well down the left before Williams shot cum cross was gathered under the bar by Carly Telford. Then Jess Clarke cut out a clearance but her lob went wide of the home goal with Rachael Laws stranded. Moments later Ellen White broke clear for the visitors but a great last ditch tackle from Gemma Wilson averted the danger as she prepared to shoot. A driving run by Sue Smith released Carla Cantrell but she pulled her shot wide as Leeds stepped up a gear.
Natalie Gutteridge headed narrowly wide from a left wing corner before good linkup play between Williams and Jordan Nobbs resulted in a Stokes effort flashing across the face of the Leeds goal. Sunderland finished the half much the stronger as a corner on the left was flapped by Telford and Gutteridges shot struck the post. Then McDougall released Lucy Staniforth to cross for Nobbs to volley narrowly wide. HT...Sunderland Ladies 0 vs 0 Leeds Carnegie Ladies
The second half continued at a fast and furious pace with both sides looking for the breakthrough. Stokes set up Williams but her shot went wide then Nobbs and Staniforth combined for Gutteridge to test Telford. There was a scare for the home side though, as White cut out a short back pass before rounding Laws but shooting wide. Then a Leeds corner ended with a goalmouth scramble as Laws came out to smother the ball. A quick break resulted in Stokes beating several defenders to cross for McDougall to bring a great save from Telford. It was end to end stuff as Smith crossed for Cantrell to head towards goal only for Laws to somehow claw the ball away from under the bar. Telford again saved from Staniforth following fine play from Nobbs and Williams before, at the other end, a Remi Allen drive just cleared the bar. Chances were plentiful but in truth neither side deserved to lose this highly entertaining game.
Sunderland...Laws, Holmes, Bannon, Wilson, Devine, Staniforth, Nobbs, McDougall, Stokes, Williams, Gutteridge.
Subs...Salicki, Unwin, Halliday, Greenwell, Atkinson.
Manager Mick Mulhern enthused...It was a great advert for football. The pleasing thing was that it was full of the things that are good about the game and we played a full part from start to finish. In reality no one deserved to lose.