England’s heroics can boost interest in Sunderland Ladies – Steph Bannon

Sunderland's Beth Mead in action against Notts County's Laura Bassett, who was unfortunate to score an own goal for England in the Women's World Cup semi-final
Sunderland's Beth Mead in action against Notts County's Laura Bassett, who was unfortunate to score an own goal for England in the Women's World Cup semi-final
0
Have your say

Skipper Steph Bannon says Sunderland will look to take advantage of the new interest in women’s football when the Super League season resumes this weekend.

The Lady Black Cats have enjoyed a great start to the season and have been supported by encouraging attendances in their home matches.

But the numbers could ell grow for Sunday afternoon’s WSL1 match between the fourth and third-placed teams in the table when Sunderland host Notts County at the Hetton Centre (2pm).

While the Wearsiders had none of their squad at the World Cup, England’s best-ever finish at the competition, third, has caught the imagination.

Our region was well represented, given three North East players had key roles, Steph Houghton, Jill Scott and Lucy Bronze.

And Bannon says it is a great chance to showcase the game to a potential new audience. “It is an opportunity for the game to push on,” said the 26-year-old.

“I think when Team GB did well at the London Olympics that was the start of something.

“But the women’s game needed another push and England have delivered that.

“The girls did the country proud in Canada and I think people have taken notice of the game and realised women can play football.”

Sunderland have already shown they can play, having reached the mid-season break in fourth, suffering just three defeats so far.

In Beth Mead they have the division’s top scorer and they have just signed wonder goal girl Stephanie Roche.

Bannon says Sunderland must look forward and not rest on their laurels.

“We have done well so far,” said the centre-half. “But for us, that has just got to be the start. We need to make sure we approach the second half of the season exactly the same way as we did the first.

“But we must start a fresh, there’s no point looking back.We have to start afresh.

“We’ve had a good first half but we need to match that or better it.”

Tickets for the match at Eppleton CW are available, priced at £4 for adults and £2 for concessions, with entry free for Sunderland supporters who have renewed season cards for 2015-16.

Chelsea have signed Reading and England Ladies striker Fran Kirby for a record British women’s fee.

Read more at http://www.readingfc.co.uk/news/article/fran-kirby-womens-record-fee-chelsea-transfer-2534000.aspx#dYXHWqcWtTUkoQIo.99