Ladies looking for Beth to tie rivals in Notts

Sunderland Ladies striker Beth Mead battles against Chelsea earlier this season. Picture by Frank Reid
Sunderland Ladies striker Beth Mead battles against Chelsea earlier this season. Picture by Frank Reid
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Carlton Fairweather hopes to see Beth Mead hit the goal trail tomorrow as Sunderland Ladies chase sixth spot in Women’s Super League 1.

The Lady Black Cats head to Notts County in good heart on the back of a 4-1 win at Doncaster Rovers Belles in their last outing three weeks ago.

Sunderland found the net four times at the Keepmoat without their goal ace on the scoresheet.

That gives Fairweather confidence that, if WSL1’s 2015 golden boot winner catches fire, his side can pick up all three points at Meadow Lane (5pm kick-off).

“Beth got herself into some great positions and while she didn’t score she provided a couple of assists, which was great,” said the head coach.

“The fact she got herself into those positions and had the chances means it’s only a matter of time before she gets on the goal-scoring trail again.”

Mead could have had a hat-trick against the Belles, home keeper Nicola Hobbs making a superb first-half save to deny before producing a full-length dive to her left after the break to turn her penalty around the post.

The England hopeful also had a couple of other openings, which were not converted.

But Fairweather has faith in his striker and added that such a convincing win will give faith to the girls that they can win without the 21-year-old scoring.

“Beth went through a couple of times,” said the boss. “The chance in the first half was a great save, to be fair to the keeper, who made an even better stop from the penalty.

“She had a couple of opportunities in the second half and probably should have done better.

“But the fact that we scored four without Beth getting any was brilliant for the team.”

Sunderland are level on nine points with sixth-placed Notts, though the Lady Pies have a better goal difference.

But a win for Fairweather’s side tomorrow will move them above their hosts.

The Lady Black Cats boss could name an unchanged starting XI, with veteran midfielder Kelly McDougall likely to remain in the centre of the park after an excellent display against Rovers.

New signing Beverly Leon could come into contention though Fairweather may keep faith in Abbey Joice, Keira Ramshaw and Stephanie Roche, who provided the forward support last time out.