Fairweather keeps calm over key refereeing decision in Sunderland Ladies’ defeat

Sunderland Ladies' Brook Chaplen tries to control a difficult ball under pressure
Sunderland Ladies' Brook Chaplen tries to control a difficult ball under pressure
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HEAD coach Carlton Fairweather refused to blame referee Lucy May – despite Sunderland Ladies seemingly being on the wrong end of a critical late decision last night.

The Northumberland official ruled Manchester City midfielder Jennifer Beattie’s lunge on the edge of her own area in the 90th minute which felled in-form Sunderland striker Beth Mead was NOT a foul.

We gave them a lot of problems and there were a lot of positives for us to take forward

Carlton Fairweather

It was the final attacking chance for the Lady Black Cats who went down 1-0 to moneybags City in their opening Women’s Super League 1 home fixture of the season.

In fairness to referee May, the official has only a split second to make a decision, though Beattie appeared to make no contact with the ball but a lot of contact with Mead, who was Sunderland’s major attacking threat.

“I thought so as well,” Fairweather told the Echo.

“I went in to see Lucy afterwards but the referee felt, from her angle, they probably fouled each other.

“That’s the reason why she didn’t give it. Obviously you have to accept the referee’s decision so that’s fine.”

Even though Sunderland lost, their football was a notch above their 2-1 win at champions Liverpool with the side enjoying countless attacking situations.

“Without a shadow of a doubt,” said Fairweather. “We’re moving in the right direction, our football is getting better.

“The quality of opposition last night was very good when you look at the full internationals they have running through their team.

“But we gave them a lot of problems and there were a lot of positives for us to take forward.”

A 20th-minute Nikita Parris header won it for City, but Fairweather felt his side deserved something from the game at Hetton.

“We are a bit frustrated to have conceded a set-piece goal,” said Fairweather whose side are next in action a week on Saturday at home to Bristol Academy.

“We created quite a few half-chances and City had one really good opportunity which Toni Duggan probably should have scored from.

“Other than that, we were still in the game and in the last 15 minutes or so we asked them a lot of questions.

“We had countless good situations, so we’re a bit disappointed with the end result.”