Sunderland showed that last weeks victory over Arsenal was no flash in the pan as they overcame leaders Chelsea at a rain lashed Hetton Centre on Sunday.
The win takes the Wearsiders three points clear at the top of the Womens National Premier League as they delighted another large crowd who braved the elements. Sunderland are gaining a noisy and enthusiastic following who are keen to show their appreciation of the fine football on display.
The home side got off to the ideal start after just 5 minutes when Sarah Danby chased a long ball from defence. Chelsea keeper Chamberlain and defender Hills got into a tangle on the edge of the box and the ball broke to Danby who gleefully accepted the gift to score from an acute angle. There was a let off for Sunderland soon after when Rachael Laws missed her kick but Skipper Steph Bannon was on hand to clear from the line.
Great work through the middle between Jordan Nobbs and Sophie Williams released Danby and as she closed in on goal she was denied by a brilliant tackle by Hills. Chelsea came close again as Rebecca Jane stormed down the left to cross for Sanderson to volley against the bar. Then Leanne Champ saw her effort tipped over by Laws and from the in swinging corner by Sarah Kempson, Laws had to be alert once more to again push the ball over. The last action of the half saw Dunia Susi race clear only to be denied by a smothering save from Laws.
HT...Sunderland Ladies 1 vs 0 Chelsea Ladies
Chelsea began the second half strongly and forced 3 early corners in succession before Danni Buet shot wide. At the other end Williams broke down the left to cross for the onrushing Kelly McDougall but the ball was scrambled away for a corner. Then Nobbs won the ball in the middle to set Danby away and she cleverly turned her marker to shoot narrowly wide with the keeper beaten. Casey Stoney brought the ball forward for Chelsea and played in Sanderson in front of goal but Gemma Wilson timed her tackle to perfection to clear the danger. Sunderland extended their lead after 58 minutes following some great play between Nobbs, McDougall and Natalie Gutteridge. The ball found its way out to Demi Stokes wide on the right and she cut inside strongly before hitting a powerful shot across Chamberlain and into the far corner of the net. The visitors were visibly drained and Sunderland pushed forward looking for more goals as shots from McDougall and Danby tested Chamberlain. A left wing corner from McDougall found Bannon on the edge of the box and her shot beat the keeper but was cleared off the line. Then McDougall played in Williams who slipped the ball inside for Nobbs to close in on goal and beat the onrushing Chamberlain but again the effort was hacked off the line with Gutteridge hovering for the kill.
FT...Sunderland Ladies 2 vs 0 Chelsea Ladies
Sunderland...Laws, Holmes, Bannon, Wilson, Devine, Stokes, Nobbs, McDougall, Williams, Danby, Gutteridge
Subs..Fletcher, Halliday, Salicki, Fraser, Atkinson.
Boss Mick Mulhern spoke after the game...Im absolutely delighted with our performance against Chelsea. They are a top side and we had to respect them. We set up the same as last week and our game plan worked well. Some people may have thought last week (against Arsenal) was a fluke, this result shows it wasnt. Its very pleasing to be top of the league but we wont get carried away. Well just take one game at a time.