Two identical goals from Rachel Furness put Sunderland into a two goal lead before Nikki Watts long range drive brought Reading back into the game just before half time. Beth Mead restored Sunderlands two goal cushion ten minutes after the break but Watts slotted home hers and Readings second to pull the game back to 3-2. Stacey Wiggins was then adjudged to have handled in the box and Kelly McDougall coolly stroked the ball home from the spot. Sophie Williams made it 5-2 eleven minutes later after a surging run and finish before substitute Kiera Ramshaw and Beth Mead linked up well to give Nicola Devine the easiest of tap ins. Becky Jane halved the deficit in the ninetieth minutes with a fine lob but it was Sunderland who walked away with all three points.
Both teams started brightly without creating any real clear cut chances. With fifteen minutes gone, Sophie Williams whipped a corner to the back post for Rachel Furness to head home. Sunderland could have made it 2-0 soon after when Natalie Gutteridge and Abby Holmes combined well but Furness shot was well saved by Grace Moloney. Reading soon started to create chances of their own, the best of which came when Becky Janes through ball found Nikki Watts but goalkeeper Helen Alderson was quickly off her line to smoother the ball. With almost ten minutes to go in the first half, Sunderland doubled their lead with a goal that was identical goal to the first. A deep corner from Sophie Williams was headed home by Rachel Furness to make it 2-0. Reading managed to get themselves back into the match seven minutes later when Nikki Watts fired a long range shot towards goal that beat Alderson in the Sunderland goal.
HT..Sunderland Ladies 2 vs 1 Reading ladies
The second half started with the home side pressing but Readings defence held firm and wouldnt let Sunderland through. Then ten minutes in saw a frantic four minutes in which both teams scored. Sophie Williams picked the ball up just inside the Sunderland half and charged forward before playing Beth Mead in who finished well with her seventh goal in six games. The joy was short lived however as Sunderland lost the ball in their own box and Alice Palmer set up Watts to slide in her second goal of the game. The match started to open up and The Lady Black Cats soon had their fourth goal. Mead showed good strength to win the ball out wide and when the ball hit Stacey Wiggins hand from Rachel Lees cross the referee pointed to the spot. Kelly McDougall stepped up and although Moloney guessed correctly and dived the right way, McDougall scored her second penalty in consecutive home games. Sunderland continued to press but Moloney denied Mead twice before pushing Furness driven shot around the post. With twenty minutes to go Williams scored a wonderful goal on the counter attack latching onto a long clearance before sprinting forward and finishing via the far post. Five minutes later Sunderland added a sixth when Ramshaw played the ball to Mead who waited for the keeper to come out before unselfishly squaring the ball to Nicola Devine who had the simplest of tasks to roll the ball into an empty net.
Towards the end a slightly clumsy challenge by Abby Holmes saw Stacie Donnelly sadly carried off the field. From the resulting free kick Watts was denied her hat-trick when her free kick hit both posts before being cleared to safety. Reading did score another when Becky Jane was given too much room and lobbed Alderson from distance to make it 6-3 but Sunderland picked up another three points towards retaining their title.
FT..Sunderland Ladies 6 vs 3 Reading ladies
Sunderland..Alderson, Holmes, Bannon(Christon), McFadden, Devine, Lee, McDougall, Furness, Williams(Grenwell), Gutteridge(Ramshaw), Mead.
Subs not used: Laws, Wilson, Atkinson
Manager Mick Mulhern spoke after the game, We are progressing well; we totally dominated the first half and kept Readings opportunities to a minimum. Obviously to score four goals in the second half underlines that things are starting to come together.
Match report...Patrick Ward