The home side were quick to settle as they had good possession deep into Charltons half. Abby Holmes and Natalie Gutteridge linked well with Beth Mead but couldnt create a shooting opportunity. Charlton then came into the game for the first time with Gemma Bryan attacking down the left, but Sunderlands Captain Stephanie Bannon spotted the danger early. Rachel Furness played a nice through ball to Mead who got behind the Charlton defence but pulled her shot wide. The Addicks picked up the pace and attacked down the left with Gemma Bryan being closely marshalled by Holmes and Bannon.
Furness found time and space to drive the ball wide left for Williams to deliver a great cross but Mead couldnt quite reach it. The Charlton defence were proving difficult to breakdown and were dangerous on the break as they won a free kick 30 yards out. The kick was taken early but the effort sailed over the bar. Charlton won another free kick some 40 yards out but the shot was easily collected by Helen Alderson. Charlton were pressurising the Sunderland defence with Bryan firing a great low cross that went narrowly wide. Then in the 38th minute the visitors took the lead as Fliss Gibbons split the home defence and crossed from the by-line for Kim Dixon to fire Charlton ahead.
Sunderland reacted well down the right with Gutteridge and Mead going forward, but they couldnt find a way through a hard working Charlton rearguard. But then with only a minute to go before the break the Wearsiders drew level as Charlton were caught in possession and Gutteridge was impeded in the box. The referee awarded a penalty and despite the protests Kelly McDougall levelled the score from the spot kick.
Half Time:- Sunderland 1-1 Charlton.
The driving rain stopped and the sun came out as Charlton kicked off the second half and were on the attack down the middle from the whistle as Bryans smart shot was well covered by Alderson. The lady Black Cats reacted well forcing a corner but couldnt find a Sunderland head. Then Charltons Becky Duggan was caught in possession by Mead who went round two defenders only to fire her shot narrowly wide. Sunderland pushed forward and following a quick break the visitors regained the lead in the 54th minute as Bryan found space through the middle to beat the off-side trap and fire low past Alderson. Charlton seemed to grow in confidence and again attacked down the right to force a corner but Alderson saved well from Bryan before quickly releasing the ball to Nicola Devine who put Mead through to shoot just beyond the upright. Sunderland deservedly equalised when Mead cleverly lost her marker and crossed for Sophie Williams to volley home in the 77th minute. As both sides pressed forward Sunderland thought they had won the game late on but Bannons header was mysteriously disallowed.
Final Score:- Sunderland 2-2 Charlton.
Sunderland: Alderson, Holmes, Bannon Wilson, Devine, Furness, McDougall, Ramshaw (Lee), Williams, Gutteridge (Greenwell), Mead.
Subs not used: Atkinson, Christon, Laws & Salicki
Mick Mulhern could not hide his disappointment after the game: We never really turned up in the first half but the second was a big improvement without ever hitting top form. We created some good chances and should have won the game. To say Im annoyed that the linesman chalked off what seemed a perfectly good goal is an understatement. That would and should have given us the 3 points we deserved. We are all frustrated at the officials decision.
After the game, Sunderland youngsters Ellie Christon and Keira Ramshaw, left to join up with the rest of the England U19 Squad, for a five-day training camp in Maidenhead. Good luck to both girls from Sunderland WFC.
Sunderland's next game is away to Nottingham Forest on Sunday 25th September.