Ladies Report: Lasses leave it late for penalties win

Sheffield United Women 1-1 Sunderland AFC Ladies (2-4 pens)

Sunderland Ladies left it late to secure two points in their Continental Cup group opener against Sheffield United Women at Chesterfield's Technique Stadium.

Keira Ramshaw's penalty four minutes into injury time sent the contest to a shootout, in which the Lasses scored all four kicks through Ramshaw once more, Emma Kelly, Emily Scarr and Neve Herron.

Courtney Sweetman-Kirk opened the scoring after half-time for the hosts, but the Blades must settle for a solitary point.

Mel Reay shuffled her pack for the contest in North Derbyshire, with Allison Cowling between the sticks, Herron and Louise Griffiths at centre-half, and starters which included Holly Manders, Eve Blakey and Libbi McInnes.

Grace Ede came on for her debut with 15 minutes remaining, having only turned 16 this month.

A cagey opening saw chances come few and far between, with Cowling called into action to deal with numerous crosses, and the Lasses looking to play direct in a narrow midfield.

The opener arrived nine minutes after the restart, when the hosts' captain Sweetman-Kirk did well to reach a Jess Clarke cross from the right-hand side at the back post.

This forced Reay's team into action with Iris Achterhof and Kelly both attempting efforts outside the area, after Sweetman-Kirk had rounded Cowling but missed the target.

Scarr's point-blank goal-line block in a crowded penalty area kept the deficit at one, before a penalty was awarded to the Lasses in the dying embers - Ramshaw firing a powerful strike into the top-left corner.

From there immediately came the shootout, with a 100% Sunderland record sealing the victory. Sheffield United scored two and missed the target with their others, handing the two points top Wearside.

Next up for the Lasses is a visit to South East London in the Women's Championship, taking on Charlton Athletic after the international break.

SAFC LADIES: Cowling, Kelly (c), Herron, Griffiths, Mullen (Brown 64'), Joice, McInnes (Ramshaw 64'), Manders (Achterhof 78'), Farrugia, Scarr, Blakey (Ede 75').

Subs not used: Moan

Attendance: 190




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