Sunderland beat Birmingham as Arsenal held by Bristol

Sunday 10 May 2015
Sunderland Ladies goalscorer Brooke Chaplen celebrates with team-mate Rachel Furness
Sunderland went into the FA WSL 1 mid-season break comfortably in mid-table but heaped the pressure on Birmingham City on Saturday. 

Goals from Beth Mead, Brooke Chaplen and Vicky Greenwell helped them to a 3-0 victory before the league breaks up for the Women’s World Cup in Canada.

The Blues had conceded only three goals in five games before going to the north east, but leaked three in the first 45 minutes, with the hosts making a dream start after just 25 seconds at the Hetton Centre.


Saturday 9 May 2015
Sunderland Ladies 3-0 Birmingham City
Bristol Academy 1-1 Arsenal Ladies

Mead got behind central defenders Kerys Harrop and Aoife Mannion from Rachel Furness's header, fizzing a left-foot shot into the left corner of Sophie Baggaley's goal.

Birmingham recovered to take control of play but failed with two glorious chances from Freda Ayisi and captain Karen Carney.

And they were made to pay for failing to turn their pressure into goals as Mead played in Chaplen, who fired high past Baggaley from 12 yards on 32 minutes.

A third Lady Black Cats goal came in first-half stoppage time as Furness was tripped in a central area and full-back Greenwell's superb dead-ball strike went into Baggaley's top-left corner.

Highlights from the game in the north-east


"We've waited a long time for a clean sheet, we're six games in now," said Sunderland captain Rachael Laws after the game.

"We were very good defensively, we've worked hard on it over the week and we proved we can keep a clean sheet and score goals.

"To have nine points going into the mid-season break is very satisfying as if we'd been offered nine points we'd have snatched your hand off."

Elsewhere, Nikki Watts fired a second-half equaliser as Bristol Academy earned just their second point of the season in a battling draw with Arsenal at Stoke Gifford Stadium.


Arsenal's Jade Bailey and Nicola Watts of Bristol battle for possession

The Gunners, who squandered the chance to move top of WSL 1, were swept into a first-half lead by Chioma Ubogagu before Welsh international Watts ensured the game would end all-square.

Arsenal took the lead when 100-cap England international Alex Scott’s cross from the right was turned home by Ubogagu.

The hosts came into the game more after the break and deservedly levelled with 20 minutes remaining. 

Frankie Brown’s ball in from the right was missed by James but it eventually broke to Watts, whose shot from the edge of the box went in off the post.

"We came here expecting to get three points," said Arsenal defender Jemma Rose, who moved from Bristol to Arsenal over the winter.

Highlights from Saturday's game in the WSL 1


"Maybe that’s one of the reasons we didn’t do it. We might have under-estimated the opposition.

"We know we should be beating Bristol but we weren’t good enough tonight. We gave the ball away too much and we weren’t ruthless enough in front of goal.

"It felt really strange coming back because the club was a big part of my life for four years and I really hope they stay up."

By FA Staff