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Sunderland Ladies come from behind to pick up first win of pre-season

Sunderland Ladies 2 Nottingham Forest Women 1 // Chronicle Live

Sunderland Ladies came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest Women and record their first win of pre-season.

An incisive break from the visitors saw Mai Moncaster open the scoring after 14 minutes, but the Black Cats turned the game around with quick-fire second half goals from Holly Manders and Eve Blakey.

Manager Mel Reay made three changes from the side that narrowly lost to Celtic Women on Thursday, with Alison Cowling, Holly Manders and Emily Scarr coming in for Claudia Moan, Eve Blakey and Emily Hutchinson.

There was also a new face in the dugout following the announcement of Steph Libbey as Assistant Manager, replacing the long-serving Trevor Atkinson.

The hosts started the brightest and had the first chance of the game, Megan Beer’s cross was met by Manders in the box who headed straight at Aja Aguirre. Then, Scarr’s dangerous free-kick was agonisingly missed by Charlotte Potts at the far post.

After Manders pulled a long-range shot wide, Forest took the lead against the run of play. Sophie Bramford’s pass put Moncaster through on goal and she coolly finished past Cowling.

Sunderland continued to press, Kiera Ramshaw cutting in from the right and firing straight at Aguirre before Mullen forced a superb acrobatic save from the goalkeeper with a volley across goal. Moments later, Scarr collected a corner on the edge of the box but put her effort high and wide.

The final chance of the half went to the Black Cats – Potts strode forward from defence and unleashed a 25-yard shot which whistled over the bar.

With words of encouragement from the new management team at the break, Sunderland were again on the front foot, Blakey unable to beat substitute goalkeeper Emily Batty after being played through by Libbi McInnes.

Emily Hutchinson began to cause problems down the left, getting to the byline only to see her low cross prodded onto the outside of the post by Blakey. Hutchinson herself had a chance to equalise after pressing from Ramshaw caused panic in the Forest defence, unfortunately the young midfielder couldn’t keep her shot down.

Scarr and Joice were next to try their luck, the latter weaving her way into the box but her strike was collected by Batty. The pressure was building and Sunderland’s best chance fell to captain Ramshaw – who was leading by example, brilliantly jinking past two defenders but she was hit the centre of the goal and Aguirre easily gathered.

As the half wore on, and it seemed it was going to be one of those days for Sunderland, until the breakthrough finally came. Scarr’s deep corner found Manders at the far post who bundled the ball into the net.

Less than two minutes later, it was two. A perfect pass behind the defence from Joice was pounced on by Blakey and the youngster slid the ball into the bottom corner.

Both goalkeepers were called into action as full-time approached, but it was the Black Cats who held on for a deserved win.

Sunderland Ladies: Cowling, Beer, McCatty, Potts, Mullen, McInnes, Joice, Ramshaw ©, Manders, Scarr, Farrugia.

Sunderland Ladies start pre-season with narrow defeat to Celtic Women

Sunderland Ladies 0 Celtic Women 0 // Sunderland Echo

Sunderland Ladies kicked off their pre-season fixtures with a narrow defeat to Scottish giants Celtic Women at the Academy of Light.

Mel Reay’s were forced due endure heavy pressure in the second half, with the Hoops making their dominance count through a fortunate goal from Chloe Warrington.

Defender Charlotte Potts donned the red and white stripes for the first time since moving from Hibernian, coming in for Neve Herron who joined up with England U19s this week. Maria Farrugia also returned to the starting line-up after missing the second half of last season due to the pandemic.

The visitors enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening stages, but Sunderland dug in and grew into the game, Kiera Ramshaw causing problems for the Celtic defence with a dangerous cross. Then, Abbey Joice collected the ball in midfield and drove forward, but her shot was easily saved by Chloe Logan.

At the other end, a long ball into the box was missed by everyone and tipped around the post by Claudia Moan and from the resulting corner, Kathleen McGovern fired over from the edge of the box.

Joice was the Black Cats’ main danger, the midfielder skipping past challenges before playing in Ramshaw whose left-foot effort flashed inches over the bar.

Celtic had the final effort of the first half, a deep cross found Caitlin Hayes unmarked, but she glanced her header wide.

The start of the second period followed that of the first with Celtic having plenty of the ball, Hayes squandering another good opportunity when she headed Atkinson’s freekick over the bar.

Sunderland again found their footing as Holly Manders kept Grace McCatty’s cross alive in the box, but Farrugia blasted into the side netting from the pull back. The Black Cats continued to push forward; Ramshaw’s shot collected by substitute goalkeeper Rachel Johnstone before putting together the best move of the game.

Meg Beer played in Emily Hutchinson down the right and her low cross was brilliantly backheeled into Manders’ path by Libby McInnes but the hosts failed to find the target.

Moments later Celtic hit the upright, before Moan saved from Izzy Atkinson and McCatty was called into action with a brave double block to deny Charlie Wellings.

Pinning Sunderland in their own half for long periods, the Champions League hopefuls finally made their pressure count with 13 minutes remaining as Rachel Donaldson laid the ball back to Warrington and her cross from the left caught Moan flat footed and looped into the far corner.

The home side pushed for an equaliser in the closing stages but could not find a way past Johnstone.

Despite the defeat, there were plenty of positives for Mel Reay and her team as they prepare for their return to the FA Women’s Championship.

Sunderland Ladies: Moan, Beer, McCatty, Potts, Mullen, Ramshaw ©, McInnes, Joice, Farrugia, Hutchinson, Blakey.

Subs (rolling): Manders, Scarr.

Celtic Women: Logan, Bartle, Craig, Teegarden, Toland, Atkinson, Hayes, Olafsdottir Gros, Wellings, Bowie, McGovern.

Subs (rolling): Pollard, Bowie, Johnstone, McAllister, Galabadaarachchi, Donaldson, Warrington.

SAFC Ladies exit FA Cup after penalty heartbreak

Burnley Women 0 SAFC Ladies 0 (after extra time), Burnley win 3-1 on penalties

Sunderland Ladies suffered heartbreak as they were beaten on penalties by Burnley Women in the Women’s FA Cup.

At the end of a fiercely contested but goalless tie, goalkeeper Lauren Bracewell made the decisive save from Louise Griffiths to give the Clarets a 3-1 victory in the shootout.

Second round hat-trick hero Eve Blakey’s early set the tone for a frantic first half, in which the Black Cats had most of the possession. In the opening seconds, the young forward shot straight at Bracewell with Abbie Joice next to test the stopper after a weaving run.

The resulting corner was whipped into the box by Emily Scarr and met by Holly Manders, who headed narrowly wide.

Burnley’s first sight of goal came after 20 minutes from a volley which flashed inches past the post and then, moments later, Scarr’s freekick from distance produced another stop from Bracewell as the game began to open up.

Just before half time, Black Cats captain Keira Ramshaw came closest to opening the scoring when her mis-hit cross clattered the crossbar – the ball was cleared straight to the feet of Jess Brown, but her curling effort was well saved.

Mel Reay’s side upped the tempo in as they pushed for a breakthrough, but it was Burnley who had the first chance of the second half. A dangerous corner fell to Evie Priestley six yards out, who fired over the bar.

Substitute Emily Hutchinson almost capitalised on a mistake from the Clarets defence at the other end but her first-time strike flew agonisingly wide with Bracewell well out of position.

As full time loomed, Ramshaw, Hutchinson and Manders all had good opportunities to win the tie late on but failed to hit the target, as did Burnley’s Nic Worthington.

In extra time, Scarr beat the offside trap from Ramshaw’s pass but Bracewell was quick to smother the danger. The forward found herself behind Burnley’s defence again but was once again denied by an outstanding save from the Lancashire side’s keeper.

The game swung from end to end as both sides desperately pushed forward, Brown and Griffiths almost winning the game for Sunderland from distance then Claudia Moan superbly collecting the ball at her near post from Burnley’s final attack.

With a shoot-out needed to settle the tie, Cara Bickett, Scarr and Katie Thomas converted their spot-kicks, with Bracewell denying Brown before Worthington struck the upright. Black Cats defender Grace McCatty saw her penalty saved before Megan Dykes stepped up to make it 3-1, blasting into the top corner.

Needing to score, Griffiths produced another stop from Bracewell which sent Burnley through to a glamour fourth round tie against Manchester United Women.

Sunderland Ladies cruise through with FA Cup in win over Sheffield

SAFC Ladies 5 Sheffield FC Women 1 | Northern Echo

SUNDERLAND LADIES cruised into the Women’s FA Cup third round after beating Sheffield FC Women 5-1 at the Academy of Light.

Goals from Keira Ramshaw and Holly Manders added to Eve Blakey’s hat-trick as the Black Cats swept aside their opponents in a dominant display.

The visitors pulled a goal back early in second half, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation as Mel Reay’s side ran rampant to set up a third-round tie at Burnley Women on Sunday.

Heading into the game, both clubs’ first since the easing of government restrictions, the Sunderland boss predicted a slow-paced contest however, the first half was anything but.

The hosts flew into the lead after just two minutes when Ramshaw collected the ball from Emily Scarr, skipped past a couple of challenges before finding the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

More Black Cats pressure paid off on the half-hour as Scarr’s vicious in-swinging corner was met by Manders who tapped in from close range.

The midfielder had opportunities to score her second as the half went on with Scarr and Joice also trying their luck, before Blakey gave the home side a deserved three-goal lead just before half time. A driving run and pass from Scarr found Ramshaw, who poked the ball to the young forward, whose shot slid under the Sheffield goalkeeper for her first senior goal.

The Yorkshire side upped the tempo after the break and were given a glimmer of hope when a free-kick from the flanks deflected in. But any comeback was abruptly ended as Sunderland netted their fourth on the hour.

Subsititute Jess Brown collected the ball on the left and drove into the box, cutting the ball back to Blakey who fired into the roof of the net.

As the game entered stoppage time, another surge into the box from Blakey was blocked by a defender, and the forward stepped up to convert the spot-kick herself.

Lady Cats survive Derby comeback to secure win

SAFC Ladies 5 Derby County Women 4 | Evening Chronicle

SUNDERLAND Ladies held off a second-half fightback to beat Derby County 5-4 in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division.

In a frantic opening five minutes, defender Louise Griffiths’ opener was cancelled out by Hannah Keryakoplis before Keira Ramshaw, Emily Scarr and an own goal gave the Wearsiders a dominant lead at the interval.

However, Emily Joyce and Precious Hamilton hauled the Ewes back into the game with their momentum briefly halted by Ramshaw’s second. Jade Formaston’s late strike set up a nervous final 10 minutes.

In horrendous conditions, Sunderland decided to kick with the wind in the first half, a decision which provided an instant reward as Griffiths’ cross from the left evaded everyone and flew into the far corner.

County responded minutes later, Keryakoplis firing home from the edge of the box and wrong-footing Claudia Moan.

However, it was Sunderland who regained the lead when Scarr rose highest in the box to head Ramshaw’s cross past Charlotte Clarke.

Moan pulled off an incredible double save from a corner before tipping a powerful shot round the post, Ramshaw, Holly Manders and Eve Blakey missing chances at the other end.

Sunderland went further ahead, Ramshaw running on to Abbey Joice’s through ball to slot past Clarke.

The Black Cats then took control of the game by adding a fourth as a low cross was bundled over the line by a Derby defender.

The deficit was reduced before the hour mark, Sunderland failing to deal with a swirling cross which allowed Joyce to head into the net and give the Ewes a lifeline.

An attempted block then swirled into the air and Hamilton reacted first to knock the ball over the line and make it 4-3.

Ramshaw doubled her tally before Formaston rounded off the scoring.

The narrow victory took Mel Reay’s Wearsiders into fourth place in the Northern Premier Division, seven points behind leaders Huddersfield Town.

SAFC Ladies: Moan, McCatty, Herron, Griffiths, Beer, Scarr, Joice, Manders (Brown 70’), Mullen, Ramshaw (c), Blakey.

Subs not used: Studholme, Hutchinson, Corney.

SAFC Ladies hit five in Wear-Tyne derby

Sunderland Ladies 5 Newcastle United Women 2 | North East Sports News

Sunderland Ladies hit five as they overcame rivals Newcastle Women at the Academy of Light.

Keira Ramshaw scored a quick-fire double inside the opening five minutes with Neve Herron’s deflected volley sending Mel Reay’s side into the break with a dominant lead.

Goals from substitutes Emily Hutchinson and Holly Manders put the game beyond doubt in the second half before former Black Cats Katie Barker and Georgia Gibson struck late on.

Following the end of the month-long national lockdown restrictions, the teams met on Wearside looking to build up fitness ahead of their return to competitive action next week.

The hosts, perhaps looking to avenge a narrow defeat to the Magpies in pre-season, took the game to their opponents from the first whistle, Ramshaw slotting the ball past Laura Wareham after Eve Blakey’s run into the box and pass found the midfielder unmarked at the far post.

Minutes later, it was two – Louise Griffiths’ cross rebounded to Blakey who nudged the ball to Ramshaw to double Sunderland’s advantage with an almost identical finish.

Sensing more goals, Griffiths, Abbey Joice, Herron and Ramshaw all tried their luck from distance but failed to trouble Wareham. On the half hour, England youth international Herron claimed the home side’s third, her deflected volley wrong footing the Newcastle goalkeeper who could only watch as the ball flew into her net.

With opportunities at both ends the game began to open up, but it was Sunderland who looked always looked the more likely to score – and they almost did from the spot when Libbi McInnes was tripped when through on goal. The youngster stepped up to take the penalty, but Wareham pulled off a fine save diving to her left.

At half time head coach Reay rang the changes with Blakey, McInnes, Emily Scarr and Claudia Moan replaced by Jessica Brown, Hutchinson, Manders and Alison Cowling, with the latter called on almost immediately to deny Gibson.

But it was Hutchinson – recently returned from a loan spell at South Shields Ladies as she steps up her recovery from a long-term injury – who scored Sunderland’s fourth with a shot which squirmed under the unlucky Wareham and trickled over the line.

Just after the hour, Joice jinked her way past Newcastle’s back line but saw her effort parried into the path of Manders who tapped in from close range to round off a five-star display.

With 10 minutes to go, the Magpies pulled one back through Gibson which sparked hopes of a fight back, but despite Barker nodding in a looping as the games entered stoppage time, it was the Wearsiders who claimed victory in the latest Wear-Tyne Derby.

Sunderland will be hoping to carry the afternoon’s confidence boosting performance into their FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division clash with Derby County next Sunday, while Becky Langley’s side will be looking to bounce back for the visit of Barnsley in the Women’s FA Cup Second Round.

Sunderland Ladies: Moan (Cowling 46’), Herron, McCatty, Beer (Studholme 68’), Mullen (Towers 60’), Griffiths (Corney 68’), Ramshaw (c), Joice, Scarr (Manders 46’), McInnes (Hutchinson 46’), Blakey (Brown 46’)

Newcastle United Women: Wareham, Cole (Packham 72’), Wilkinson (Stewart 46’), Lock (c) (Tait 79’), McKenzie, Guy (Harland (79’), Gibson, Gray, Longcake (Soulsby 46’), Foster, Barker

Sunderland Ladies claim win against determined Nottingham Forest Women

Sunderland Ladies 1 Nottingham Forest Women 0 | North East Sports News

Sunderland Ladies overcame the elements and a determined Nottingham Forest Women side to claim a vital win in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division.

Playing In awful weather, Keira Ramshaw’s strike just before the hour was enough to give the Wearsiders’ a deserved three points at the Academy of Light.

Choosing to kick into the swirling wind, Sunderland had best of a frantic first half as both teams struggled against the conditions.

The first chance fell to midfielder Maria Farrugia who clattered the bar from close range with Grace McCatty drawing a point-blank save from Aja Aguirre.

Seconds later the Black Cats had a penalty appeal turned down when Emily Scarr, keeping the ball alive, went down under a challenge on the edge of the box. Scarr found Kiera Ramshaw with the resulting free kick but her shot was blocked for a corner.

Although Forest had opportunities of their own, Rosie Axten and Rebecca Rayner trying their luck from distance, the hosts looked the more likely to open the scoring.

First, Farrugia tried her luck with a free-kick from 30-yards before Abbey Joice played in Ramshaw whose curling effort flew past the post. Joice, looking Sunderland’s main attacking threat, shot wide herself with Scarr and then forward young forward Eve Blakey also failing to hit the target.

With the break approaching, the final chance of the half fell to Ramshaw, but her low drive was well gathered by the Forest ‘keeper.

Mel Reay’s side carried their momentum into the second period, Aguirre – under pressure from Blakey – scuffed her attempted clearance straight to Ramshaw who sliced wide.

Malta international Farrugia had another attempt at goal before Sunderland finally broke the deadlock in the 57th minute. Joice found Ramshaw on the edge of the six-yard box after an incisive passing move between the two sliced through the Forest defence, and the Black Cats captain smashed the ball across goal into the net.

Sensing more goals, Sunderland continued to push for a second, Ramshaw hitting the side netting and forcing another good save from Aguirre who then denied Scarr after being slipped through by Farrugia.

Forest were always dangerous on the counter, Rayner and Charlotte Steggles both failing to find the net. With 15 minutes to go, Rayner whipped cross was met by Lucy Johnson who volleyed marginally wide.

The Reds’ best chance came with a minute to go, Moan somehow clawing the ball away on the goal line to secure Sunderland’s first clean sheet of the season and a much-needed victory with Loughborough Foxes up next at the Academy of Light.

Sunderland: Moan, Beer, McCatty, Herron, Griffiths, Mullen, Ramshaw (c), Joice, Scarr, Farrugia, Blakey (Manders ‘72).

Subs not used: Cowling, Warren, McInnes.

Away day woes continue for Sunderland Ladies

West Bromwich Albion Women 2 Sunderland Ladies 1 | North East Sports News

Sunderland Ladies’ away woes continued as they fell to 2-1 defeat against West Brom Women in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division.

The visitors were fortunate to reach the break level but fell behind to a Hannah Baines header midway through the second half.

Substitute Holly Manders pulled the Wearsiders level almost immediately, but Keeley Davies volleyed a late winner to give Albion all three points.

Looking for a third consecutive win Sunderland started the brighter, captain Keira Ramshaw forcing a good save from Poppy Bastock from a tight angle and then glancing a header past the post from the resulting corner.

From then on, the Baggies controlled possession for large periods but were limited to shots from distance with Natalie Murray, Hannah George and Leigh Dugmore failing to test Claudia Moan.

Last week’s match-winner Maria Farrugia missed a couple of good chances in quick succession for the Black Cats, first firing wide after a trademark jinking run before clattering the crossbar from Emily Scarr’s cross just before half-time.

With head coach Mel Reay’s words ringing in their ears, Sunderland were unrecognisable in the second half but struggled to find a way past Bastock.

A Ramshaw strike from distance was easily dealt with by the Baggies ‘keeper, as was Abbey Joice’s smart turn and snapshot from close range.

West Brom continued to threaten, Baines reacting first to Davies’ deflected strike, but she could not find a way past Moan. After 72 minutes, the home side broke the deadlock. George’s deep corner found Baines who headed home via the underside of the crossbar.

Sunderland kept up the pressure, Joice firing over and Ramshaw hitting the upright, and equalised within five minutes through Manders’ powerful header from Scarr’s corner.

A draw would have been a fair result, but it would be West Brom who would go on to win the game. Evie Gallop did well down the left, digging out a high cross which was missed by everyone but Davies who lashed home a fantastic winner into the top corner.

This latest defeat, their third on the road, leaves Sunderland seven points adrift of top spot, with third placed Nottingham Forest Women visiting the Academy of Light on Sunday.

Sunderland: Moan, Beer, McCatty, Herron, Griffiths (McInnes ’89), Mullen, Ramshaw (c), Joice, Brown (Manders ’61), Scarr, Farrugia.

Subs not used: Cowling, Warren, Blakey.

Maria weaves her magic in Cats’ win

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.

SAFC Ladies win Fylde under hard-fought

SAFC Ladies 3 AFC Fylde Women 1 | Evening Chronicle

Sunderland AFC Ladies returned to winning ways in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division with a hard-fought win over early pacesetters AFC Fylde Women.

Veteran defender Grace McCatty opened Sunderland’s scoring inside two minutes, before Sadie Mitchell equalised for the visitors.

Youngster Neve Herron restored the Lasses’ lead before substitute Holly Manders put the result beyond doubt in closing stages.

Despite promising signs, Mel Reay’s new-look Lady Black Cats have struggled so far this term and were expecting another tough challenge from the table-topping Coasters.

The Lasses flew out of the blocks from the first whistle, Maria Farrugia seeing her effort well saved by Fylde goalkeeper Savannah Smith.

From the resulting corner Sunderland took the lead, the ball falling to McCatty on the edge of the box who found the top corner with a stunning curling shot.

The home side’s lightning start stunned Fylde into action, with Ellen Hollinshead and Natasha Webster testing Claudia Moan, before Eve Blakely saw her chance to double Sunderland’s lead denied by the post.

Unbeaten in their first four games, Fylde continued to search for an equaliser and found one just after the hour mark when Laura Merrin’s corner was volleyed in by Mitchell at the far post.

As the second half wore on, both sides missed opportunities to edge in front – Louise Griffiths narrowly shooting wide for the Lasses, as Webster and Jodie Redgrave both spurned clear chances at the other end.

Reay introduced Manders and Jessica Brown whose fresh legs made an immediate impact as Sunderland began pushing their opponents further into their own half.

With six minutes to go, Herron struck at the far post to claim what looked like the crucial winning goal, her second of the season.

The victory was put beyond doubt in the final minute as Abbey Joice won the ball in midfield and Manders skipped past two challenges before cooly slotting home past Smith

The Lasses now move up to eighth, with Sheffield FC next up at the Academy of Light on Sunday.

Sunderland: Moan, Beer, McCatty, Herron, Griffiths, Mullen, Ramshaw (c) (Brown ’67), Joice, Scarr, Farrugia, Blakey (Manders ’72).

Subs not used: Cowling, Warren, McInnes.