Sunderland Ladies extended their lead at the top of the National Premier League to 5 points after a hard fought victory against chief rivals Leeds Utd Ladies in blustery conditions at the Hetton Centre on Sunday.

The game started brightly with both teams pushing forward at every opportunity. A good cross from Williams on the left was collected comfortably by Draycott with Natalie Gutteridge waiting to pounce. Then Ramshaw forced her way between Staneff and Pennock but she was closed down before she could get a clear shot on goal. Rachel Furness just failed to connect following a well taken left wing corner from Demi Stokes as Sunderland tried to press home an advantage.   Leah Galton was a constant threat for the visitors with a number of penetrating runs but fortunately for Sunderland there was no end product.  Another good run by Galton caused the home defence problems but her shot flew just over the bar.  Sunderland finished the half strongly with Gutteridge and Kiera Ramshaw linking well but without creating any real threat on goal.

 

HT...  Sunderland Ladies  0  vs  0 Leeds Utd Ladies

 

A good through ball by Kelly McDougall sent Stokes clear but she was crowded out and the ball was scrambled clear. Then fine work on the left by Furness produced an excellent cross which was well taken by Draycott in the Leeds goal as the Wearsiders began to turn the screw. A great run by Stokes on the left produced a cross which saw McDougall’s effort come back off the crossbar. Sunderland at last made the breakthrough in the 72nd minute following a strong run on the right by Abby Holmes. As she ghosted past two Leeds defenders she produced a great ball over the top for Stokes to run on to and calmly slide home from close in. Moments later it should have been two following a quick throw-in the ball was worked forward for Furness to turn sharply but her shot again hit the bar with the keeper beaten. McDougall and Williams went close as the game finished with the home side comfortably in command and victory assured with a third consecutive clean sheet.

 

FT...  Sunderland Ladies  1  vs  0 Leeds Utd Ladies

 

Sunderland...  Laws, Holmes, Wilson, Bannon, Greenwell, Ramshaw, Furness, McDougall, Stokes, Gutteridge (Vaughan) Williams. Subs (not used):  Salicki, Christon, McFadden, Halliday

 

Next Match: Sunday 27th March | Sunderland WFC v Arsenal LFC | Women's FA Cup Quarter-Final | The Hetton Centre | Kick Off 1.00pm

 

The Reserves went down 3-1 at Everton, with Charlotte Proud scoring Sunderland's goal. 

Sunderland's Demi Stokes scores the only goal of the game - click image for more photos
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20 March 2011
Sunderland 1 - 0 Leeds