Sunderland AFC Ladies 5-2 Newcastle United Women
The Black Cats played host to their local rivals in Newcastle United this afternoon at the Academy of Light, coming away with a convincing victory in a seven-goal thriller.
It didn’t take SAFC long to open the scoring, when captain Keira Ramshaw netted in the opening minute of the game, and doubled down on the deficit moments later. Young Lioness Neve Herron scored on her return from international duty on the 26-minute mark, and Emily Hutchinson and Holly Manders also netted in the second half.
Georgia Gibson and Katie Barker each scored for the Magpies in the game’s dying moments, but they proved simply to be consolation goals in a game where the Black Cats dominated from start to finish.
Both sides graced the pitch of the Academy at half past one, in their first game back since the month-long lockdown which prevented teams from competing.
And Ramshaw lead the Black Cats by example, netting a minute into the game’s proceedings when a stray ball found her unmarked at the back stick. She doubled up on her goals for the afternoon four minutes later with a near enough identical goal, setting the tone for the “friendly”.
Louise Griffiths then put more pressure on Laura Wareham from long range, with Abbey Joice and Ramshaw also following suit to no avail.
Herron then put her stamp on the game with a sweetly struck volley from just outside the area on the 26-minute mark. The ball took a nasty deflection wrong footing Wareham and hitting the empty net.
Newcastle then replied with a couple of half-chances of their own, but Claudia Moan was equal to the threat.
Libbi McInnes was then brought down in the area on the stroke of half-time gifting Sunderland a penalty. She stepped up to take the spot kick but a brilliant save from Wareham kept the Magpies in the game.
Manager Melanie Reay then made changes to her side, replacing four players with fresh legs. Allison Cowling, who was one of the substitutes was called instantly to action to make a couple of vital saves to prevent Newcastle from catching the Mackems up.
Hutchinson struck gold 58 minutes in, smashing a volley from outside the area alike Herron. Warren contacted the shot as it headed goalwards, but she didn’t get enough on it to stop it trickling over the line.
Manders then sealed the game off for SAFC two-thirds of the way through the fixture. Joice made a surging run through the centre of the park, cutting it back to Manders in the area who smashed it home.
And despite the efforts of Gibson and Barker, Sunderland walked away from the Academy with a solid victory, building momentum for their league fixture against Derby County in a week’s time.
SAFC Ladies: Moan (Cowling 46’), Herron, McCatty, Beer (Studholme 68’), Mullen (Towers 60’), Griffiths (Corney 68’), Ramshaw, Joice, Scarr (Manders 46’), McInnes (Hutchinson 46’), Blakey (Brown 46’)