Doncaster Belles 0 Sunderland Ladies 2: Message in Ladies’ bottle

Rachel Furness (right) celebrates doubling Sunderland Ladies' lead at Doncaster last night. Picture by Susan Gutteridge
Rachel Furness (right) celebrates doubling Sunderland Ladies' lead at Doncaster last night. Picture by Susan Gutteridge
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SUNDERLAND head coach Claire Robinson hopes that last night’s FA WSL Continental Cup victory over Doncaster Rovers Belles sends a message to their Women’s Super League 2 rivals.

The Black Cats suffered a heavy 6-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool last time out, but they took the lead after just five minutes at the Keepmoat Stadium when Beth Mead got through on goal before smashing the ball into the top corner.

The visitors’ advantage was doubled 20 minutes later when Rachel Furness managed to flick a header goalwards following a long free-kick.

And Robinson is eager for this victory to be the catalyst for more in the league with her side and the Belles locked level on nine points at the top of WSL 2.

“A good cup run and a fantastic win against Doncaster can send a little message out,” said Robinson.

“After this result, we are confident of chasing them down in the league. Doncaster couldn’t handle some of our play and some of what the girls were doing.

“Then it’s about the organisation and again the credit goes back to the girls, they defended really strong.

“It was all about reactions, and the girls started flying. All credit goes to the girls for reacting the way they did (after the 6-0 defeat against Liverpool).”

After Mead and Furness had given the visitors a two-goal cushion, Sunderland goalkeeper Rachael Laws made a stunning double save early in the second period to keep the away side firmly in the driving seat.

First, she denied Jess Sigsworth as she advanced into the box before tipping a thunderous Sue Smith follow up effort onto the bar.

Doncaster had further chances to get back in the game when Reanne Thomas had a header cleared off the line before nodding over from two yards out.

The hosts again hit the woodwork when substitute Hope Knight headed a Smith cross onto the crossbar with less than ten minutes left on the clock, but their grip on Group Two was relinquished in defeat.

Doncaster manager Gordon Staniforth said: “I’m disappointed with the result but I thought we were magnificent in the second half.

“I thought we had so many chances second half we should have had something out of the game.

“I don’t believe in luck, we have to put the ball in the right place and get on the end of it, but we lost the game in the first half.”

* The FA Women’s Super League has been newly expanded to two leagues for 2014. To watch all 18 clubs live in action buy tickets here: http://www.ticketstores.co.uk/fawsl