Mel Reay hailed her side’s reaction to fighting back from a goal down to claim a point at Crystal Palace and maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

Substitute Keira Ramshaw cancelled out Millie Farrow’s second half opener within six minutes as Sunderland made it two wins and a draw from their opening three Women’s Championship games.

Both sides created chances in an entertaining match that could have gone either way, with the Black Cats facing their toughest test of the season so far and their first of a series of long-haul trips this side of Christmas.

“It was a really tough game today,” Reay told the club’s website. “We experienced an overnight stay for the first time in a long time. We had good preparation going into the game but the caused us some real problems in the first half. We adjusted the shape slightly in the in the second half and it served us well.

“I’m absolutely delighted with the reaction. It’s the first goal we’ve conceded, and I wasn’t sure how they would cope, but we’ve gone up the other end within five or 10 minutes and got the equaliser. I’m delighted for Keira coming off the bench.”

Mel reay

Recovering from a knee injury suffered on the opening day, Ramshaw was forced to settle for a place among the substitutes as Reay kept faith with the team that that defeated Blackburn Rovers at the Stadium of Light last Sunday.

Reay added: “She was champing at the bit to start but we kept the same team coming into the game and what an impact coming off the bench. It was the perfect reaction.”

The draw in South London sees Sunderland top of the table heading into the international break before the side return home to Eppleton against Lewes on Sunday 26 September.

Reay said: “It will be good to get back. Some of the players are going off on international duty – we’ll have three away – but we’ll regroup, have a little bit of time off and make sure we’re fully prepared going into Lewes.”