Sunderland Ladies 2 Sheffied FC Women 1 | Evening Chronicle

Maria Farrugia scored an incredible solo goal as Sunderland Ladies came from behind to beat Sheffield Women in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division.

The away side took the lead through Holly Housley’s penalty in the first half before Keira Ramshaw drew the hosts level with a powerful header moments later.

With 20 minutes remaining, Farrugia’s superb jinking run and strike secured the three points for the Black Cats.

With confidence high following last Sunday’s victory over Fylde Ladies, Sunderland flew out of the blocks, Abbey Joice playing in Jessica Brown who fired straight at Laura Parsons. Then, captain Ramshaw clipped the outside of the post from 20 yards.

Brown was a real threat in the opening stages, collecting Ramshaw’s low on the edge of the box but Parson saved her shot well for a corner.

After weathering the early storm Sheffield started to settle into game, Housley and Charlie Docherty both shooting high over Claudia Moan’s goal.

Just before the break, the visitors took the lead. Rebecca Knight was judged to have been fouled in the box and Housley converting the resulting spot kick, smashing past Moan.

However, Sunderland hit back almost immediately. Emily Scarr won a corner on the left and her in-swinging delivery found Ramshaw free in the area who powerfully headed home.

With half-time drawing near, Mel Reay’s side continued to push forward, Brown striking wide from a tight angle and Louise Griffiths glancing her header narrowly wide of the post.

The Wearsiders started the second half on the front foot with Griffiths and Farrugia testing Parson’s and Scarr hitting the bar with a 25-yard freekick.

Despite Sunderland’s dominance, Sheffield continued to create opportunities of their own, with Moan called on to deny Docherty and then Knight.

With 20 minutes remaining, Farrugia produced her moment of magic. The Malta international collected the ball in midfield and drove at the Sheffield defence, skipping past several challenges before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner.

Substitute Holly Manders almost extended the lead, cutting in on her left foot only to see her curling shot blocked by some last ditch defending. The forward then hit the base of the post after her corner was cleared.

The win moves Sunderland to within four points of top spot, with a trip to fourth place West Brom Women up next.

Sunderland: Moan, Beer, Herron, Griffiths, McCatty, Ramshaw (c), Joice, Farrugia, Brown (Warren 85’), Scarr (McInnes 76’), Blakey (Manders 62’).

Subs not used: Cowling, Studholme.