Kelly McDougalls first half penalty was cancelled out by Barnets Vicky Boardman before second half goals from Beth Mead(2) and Kiera Ramshaw secured a valuable win and sent The Lady Black Cats back to the top of the Womens National Premier League.
Sunderland started the game very brightly with Sophie Williams a major threat on the left hand side. She delivered two glorious crosses for Natalie Gutteridge and Beth Mead who were unlucky not to score. Mead had a penalty appeal turned down in the busy opening period as Sunderland looked to take the game to their hosts. Minutes later Mead went past the Barnet centre half only to have her legs taken from underneath her as she prepared to shoot. Kelly McDougall calmly slotted the penalty home to give the Wearsiders a deserved lead. Barnet were struggling to get into the game as Sunderlands dominance continued to cause problems. Kiera Ramshaw, Williams and Rachel Furness all had good efforts saved as the visitors threatened to run riot. However on 35 minutes all the hard work was undone as Barnet levelled from a corner kick. Gutteridge headed away the initial delivery but the defence failed to deal with the second cross and Vicky Boardman turned and buried the loose ball into the top corner. Sunderland surged forward in the closing minutes of the half and Mead was unlucky to lose out to the Barnet keeper after beating the last defender.
HT...Barnet 1 vs 1 Sunderland
The second half took on much the same pattern as the first as Sunderland continued to push Barnet back. Gutteridge was unlucky to see her header cleared off the line and it seemed to be only a matter of time before the Lady Black Cats regained the lead. They didn't have to wait long as McDougall picked up a loose ball on the halfway line to send a long ball in behind the Barnet defence. As Mead applied pressure the Barnet keeper misjudged the bounce and Mead pounced to slot home in the 51st minute. The home side tried to up their game and went very close to an equaliser a few moments later. Sophie Williams was judged to have fouled Sowden 20 yards from goal and only a fantastic save from Rachel Laws denied Cheryl Williams. This seemed to spur the Wearsiders on and there was no stopping Sunderland now as they created several good opportunities to end Barnets stubborn resistance. Steph Bannon, Gutteridge and Furness all went close to adding to Sunderlands tally before the third goal finally arrived on 81 minutes. McDougall found Mead at the angle of the box and she took a touch before smashing the ball into the bottom corner of the net to take her goals haul to 12 for the season. Mead almost added to this from a similar position after cutting inside the full back and shooting narrowly over. The dominant display was slightly tarnished for Sunderland on 84 minutes as captain Steph Bannon was carried off after she landed heavily after a making a challenge . This unsettled Sunderland and Barnet tried to seize the opportunity to get back into the game. However smart defending by Ellie Christon and Nicola Devine denied Sowerby and this was followed by good work by Sarah McFadden to deny Bruton a shooting opportunity. Sunderland again found their rhythm and played out the remaining minutes in Barnets half. An excellent all round display was capped off on 90 minutes as Devine crossed for Ramshaw who lifted the ball over the Barnet keeper and into the net to send Sunderland back to the top of the National Premier League.
FT...Barnet 1 vs 4 Sunderland
Sunderland..Laws, Christon, Bannon(Wilson), McFadden, Devine, Ramshaw, McDougall, Furness(Lee), Williams, Gutteridge, Mead.
Subs not used.. Alderson, Gardener, Beer.
Mick Mulhern was elated after the performance. We have played well in 90% of our games so far but I can honestly say that was the most pleasing performance. Everyone did their own jobs and worked hard for their team mates either side of them. I'm delighted as Barnet are a good side.
Come and support Sunderland Women in their next match when they host Coventry City next Sunday, 13th November, at the Hetton Centre (Eppleton CW). Kick-off 2pm.