THE quality and experience of Kelly McDougall proved crucial in getting Sunderland Ladies over the line and into WSL1.
The 30-year-old scored the Lady Black Cats’ crucial opener in their 4-0 win over Millwall Ladies as her team secured the WSL2 title.
And it was here beautifully-struck shot from 20 yards in the 17th minute which put Sunderland on their way.
“I was pleased with the goal,” she told the Echo.
“I’d been practising my finishing and that was a perfect example of practice paying off.
“I’d felt good going into the game and I told the girls I fancied myself to score.
“It wouldn’t have mattered to me who scored, though – all that counted was us getting the win and getting promoted.
“Getting that first goal though was vital.
“I thought we’d played well up to that point but once we got our noses in front we really started to play confidently.
“For me, I thought our second goal was the one that probably counted most.
“We’d got to half-time 1-0 ahead and that was good enough but when we got that second goal just after the hour, we really started to produce our best stuff and got more goals straight after.
McDougall is an ex-Everton player – the club that was relegated from WSL1 this season and the team Sunderland will replace in the top flight.
“I know all about Everton, about how good a team they are and how hard they work,” she said.
“They’re very good and yet they’ve gone down and that just shows you what a challenge playing in WSL1 is.
“But although I’m gutted for Everton, I’m delighted for Sunderland and after such a good season this season, we want to go out and do well in the top flight next season.
“It’s going to be tough but we don’t want to go up there and make up the numbers.
“That’s for another day though, at the moment we’re all just thrilled to have won promotion and we’re going to enjoy that!”