NEWS: 28 November 2009

Sunderland Women’s midfielder Kelly McDougall reflected on her winner against Arsenal Ladies last Sunday and admitted: “That was sweet!”


The 25-year-old struck the decisive goal in the closing minutes of Sunderland’s 2-1 win at Hetton’s Eppleton CW ground with a dipping shot that cleared keeper Emma Byrne but dipped just underneath the crossbar.


The strike left the mighty Gunners – who completed the Treble last season – licking their wounds. It was only their second league defeat in six years, and sent shockwaves around the country in the women’s game.


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“That goal will stay right up there as one of my most memorable,” said McDougall, who also scored in Sunderland’s 2-1 FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal at Pride Park last season. “It was great to score in the cup final on a very memorable day and a big occasion. And there are one or two special goals for me from when I was at Everton. “I think the big thing about last week’s goal was the circumstances. It was very late in the game and it sealed a win against the top team in the country."


“It all added up to a very special moment. It was sweet.”


The win not only moved Sunderland back to joint top in the Premier League – alongside Chelsea, who visit Hetton tomorrow – but opened up the league title race as Arsenal’s 100 per cent record was shattered.


“We have played more games than the top teams and we know they will be overtaking us soon,” said McDougall. “But the win certainly gave hope to other teams. I have had a lot of calls from former team-mates at Everton. They thought they had fallen behind Arsenal again because they had lost a game to Chelsea – but our result gives everyone hope. I think it is a great result for the game overall. Arsenal have dominated for so long. Maybe this will give everyone else belief; not only against Arsenal but the other leading teams.”


As for Sunderland, the win was something of a coming of age in the top flight. “We did so well last season to win the Northern Division and promotion, but also to reach the cup final,” added McDougall. “But we needed to move on and try to top that, to keep the momentum going. It’s the same now – we need to put the Arsenal win behind us and look at Chelsea tomorrow. “They beat us 3-1 down there a few weeks back but overall our performance was good. We made mistakes and we need to learn from them, just as we did after we lost at Arsenal a fortnight ago.”


Chelsea are unbeaten away from home this season with four wins and a draw, and their 5-3 win at Everton was probably the result of the season ... until Sunderland stunned Arsenal.


“Chelsea provide a slightly different test to Arsenal, so we’ll prepare for them. It will be tough – you would expect them to be in the top three with Arsenal and Everton at the end of the season. We had a great atmosphere in the game against Arsenal. Hopefully a few more can come along and cheer us on tomorrow.”


Tomorrow’s game kicks off at Eppleton CW at the earlier than usual time of 1pm.


Admission is £3 for adults and £1 for children - All welcome


Courtesy of Neil Watson, Sports Editor, Sunderland Echo.