Goals from Sophie Williams and Beth Mead had put The Lady Black Cats in command. But the visitors fought back with a strike from Milly Durrant and an injury time equaliser by Courtney Sweetman-Kirk which meant both sides shared the spoils.
The home side began very strongly and had Coventry on the back foot from the off. Natalie Gutteridge brought the ball forward and crossed for Keira Ramshaw to hit a low shot wide. Then Rachel Furness burst through the visiting defence to hit a fierce shot narrowly off target. The bright start was rewarded with a well worked goal in the 6th minute. Ellie Christon fed Furness to bring the ball clear before playing in Beth Mead who turned her marker and crossed for Sophie Williams to volley home from just inside the box. Sunderland continued to push forward as Nicola Devine crossed from the left and Ramshaws headed effort was well saved by Sue Wood. Then a flowing move between Gutteridge and Ramshaw resulted in Furness lifting the ball over the keeper but it dropped just wide of the goal. Fine work by Gutteridge again saw a Ramshaw effort cleared off the line as the home side threatened to run riot. At last Coventry began to find their feet as they pushed forward to gain a two successive corners. A free kick was floated into the home penalty area and Laws had to be alert to gather the ball ahead of Barber. The visitors were enjoying a lot of possession at this stage and Sweetman-Kirk got behind the defence but pulled her shot wide. At the other end a fine move between Kelly McDougall and Gutteridge saw a Furness effort lift over the bar. The game had become much more even in the closing stages of the half with good football on display by both sides.
HT... Sunderland Ladies 1 vs 0 Coventry City Ladies
The visitors pushed forward immediately after the restart and gained an early corner which caused problems in the home defence before Gemma Wilson and Sarah McFadden combined to clear the danger. Sunderland extended their lead in the 49th minute after a free kick was awarded in their favour. McDougall floated the kick into the area and Furness headed back across goal for Williams to direct it towards the danger area and Mead touched it home from close in. The joy was short lived though as Coventry struck back after 54 minutes. A quick break saw the ball delivered across the face of the Sunderland goal and the ball was turned back into the middle for Milly Durrant to force it home from close in. The visitors came close again as a left wing corner was headed over by Natasha Lynch. The Wearsiders hit back with a quick break and as the ball came out McDougall saw her volley blocked before being scrambled clear. Moments later Mead ran through on goal and squared for Williams to chip over the stranded keeper but the ball dropped agonisingly wide of the upright. Then McFadden came close as she headed over from a right wing corner. Just as it looked as if the points were safe the home side were stunned with an injury time equaliser. As Sunderland pushed forward the move broke down and the ball was lifted over the defence for Sweetman-Kirk to confidently go on and round Laws before stroking the ball home.
FT... Sunderland Ladies 2 vs 2 Coventry City Ladies
Sunderland..Laws, Christon, Wison, McFadden. Devine, Ramshaw, McDougall, Furness, Williams, Gutteridge(Lee), Mead. Subs not used..Alderson, Greenwell, Atkinson, Beer.
Mick Mulhern spoke frankly after the game..We are obviously bitterly disappointed that we couldnt see the game outto take all three points. We certainly deserved them, but young players dont always make the right decisions as they learn the game and Coventry nicked a point today. On a positive note we were a constant threat and played some good football at times. On another day we would have killed Coventry off. The attacking side of our game is improving steadily and we are still top of the league so that in itself is a major positive.