Sunderland players and manager Mick Mulhern celebrate after retaining their FA Women's Premier League trophy
By Marc Isaacs - Sunday, 29 April, 2012
Mick Mulhern's side retain FA Women's Premier League title.
Sunderland 2-1 Cardiff City
The FA Women's Premier League
2pm, Sunday 29 April 2012
Click here for results and League standings
Sunderland won The FA Women’s Premier League National Division title for the second consecutive season following their 2-1 win over Cardiff on Sunday.
After Terri Beddows cancelled out Nicola Devine's ninth-minute opener for the Black Cats, Beth Mead pounced just after the break to net the all-important winner and seal another memorable day for the north east club.
Sunderland went into the game knowing they needed victory to move above Leeds, who had completed their games and were two points clear at the top.
And they got off to a dream start when they opened the scoring through Devine. After going past a defender on the left, her cross dropped just inside the far post and set Sunderland on their way. But Cardiff quickly hit back and grabbed an equaliser six minutes later when Terri Beddows got her name on the scoresheet shooting through a crowded penalty box to beat Rachael Laws in the visitor's goal.
Sunderland came out lively after the break and were soon back in front as Mead stole the headlines. With just seven minutes played in the second half, she was first onto a loose ball to fire beyond Rhian Nokes.
Any chance of a Cardiff fight-back was virtually ended on the 74th-minute when goalscorer Beddows was sent off after a foul on Mead, and when the final whistle went it was greeted with joy by Sunderland boss Mick Mulhern.
"It was fantastic to win this league last year but the real challenge was to retain it," said Mulhern. "We’ve done that after a hard and challenging season and that’s the mark of true champions. I’m very proud."
Sunderland now switch their attentions to Sunday’s League Cup Final against Leeds and Mulhern hopes to make it a memorable end to the campaign.
"Winning the League was the most important thing for us. But now we've done that it would be amazing to win The Cup as well," Mulhern told BBC Sport.
"It will be a tough Final because Leeds are a very good side and they were worthy title challengers - but it's my dream now to end the season with a fantastic double."
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