Sunderland Ladies 2 Notts County 1
Beth Mead fired a stunning injury-time winner to send Sunderland ladies to third in Women’s Super League 1.
Sunderland made a dream start, going in front after just 91 seconds.
Sunderland looked set for a point in the fourth vs third clash with Notts County at Hetton, until sub Abbey Joice found the top scorer.
Mead had work to do but beat England keeper Siobhan Chamberlain with a brilliant finish into the goalie’s top left corner.
Sunderland had scored at the beginning and end of the match after Hayley Sharp volleyed the Lady Black Cats ahead on 91 seconds.
Jess Clarke pulled Notts County level in the 17th minute, but the day belonged to Mead.
Sunderland made a dream start, going in front after just 91 seconds at the Eppleton CW ground.
Vicki Greenwell, preferred to Tori Williams at left back, swung over a free-kick from 35 yards, which Sharp met with a superb right-foot volley which flashed past Siobhan Chamberlain.
Encouraged by the bright ope ning, the Lady Black Cats soon threatened again when Rachel Furness got up well to win a Kelly McDougall corner and Keira Ramshaw flashed over a volley from the edge of the area.
New Sunderland keeper Hilde Olsen made a great first contribution to the side when she denied Ellen White in the 14th minute.
The England striker was clean through on goal but the Norwegian saved well with her legs.
Unfortunately, the 23-year-old was beaten three minutes later, Rachel Williams setting up Clarke Who finished emphatically.
Clarke was proving a handful for the Lady Pies and after good work by the midfielder, Williams went over the bar.
The same players combined to set up White only for the England girl to fluff her chance.
Sunderland had a glorious chance to regain the lead in the 53rd minute when Mead was played through but the top scorer put her shot wide of Chamberlain’s left post.
Stephanie Roche’s debut ended in the 63rd minute when she was replaced by Abby Joice.
And the diminutive midfielder was soon in the action., combining with Mead, but the striker shot wide of the keeper’s right-hand up right.
Joice was at it again with exciting forward runs on 73 and 77 minutes to twice set up Mead.
For the first chance, Mead hesitated and lost the ball and the second time, she tried to place it and her effort went narrowly wide.
Olsen saved the day at the end of normal time with another good save to deny White, again, and it looked like being a draw.
But Mead had other ideas with a finish worthy of winning any game.
Sunderland: Olsen, Holmes, Bannon, Sharp (T Williams 28), Greenwell, Ramshaw (Kelly 88), McDougall, Furness, Chaplen, Roche (Joice 63), Mead. Subs (not used): Wilson, McFadden
Notts Co: Chamberlain, Turner, F Whelan (Susi 7), Bassett, Greenwood, Buet, Walton, Crichton, Clarke, White, Williams (A Whelan 73). Subs: Plumptre, O’Neill
Ref: John Matthews (Billingham) Attendance: 955