VICKI Greenwell can establish herself as a free-kick specialist after her goalden start to the season.
So says Sunderland Ladies boss Mick Mulhern after the 28-year-old scored from long range in each of the opening two Super League games of the season.
The Lady Black Cats have two wins from two as they head to their third game of the season - a visit to Aston Villa in FS WSL2 tomorrow.
Sunderland were 4-2 winners at Durham in the opening game and followed up last Sunday with a dramatic 3-2 win against Reading.
Left-back Greenwell opened the scoring for Sunderland who led 2-0 before the visitors hit back to level.
A screamer from midfielder Kelly McDougall, deep into injury-time, finally clinched the three points.
“I am delighted for Vicki,” said Mulhern,
“We only have two natural left-footers in the side right now, so it made sense to use Vicki in certain positions; including corners from the right.
“She has a lovely left foot and strikes the ball so cleanly. It’s certainly an extra threat from positions around the box.
“She deserves all the credit and praise because she’s a very honest and hard-working player.”
The win against Reading, and the manner of it, was a major boost for the team and Mulhern.
“It was disappointing to let a two-goal lead slip, but the players showed great character to finish the game well,” he said,
“And Kelly hit a magnificent volley to win the game; it was a goal worthy of winning a very good game.
“Reading showed they are a very good team and I expect them to be challenging.
“They have a lot of experience at the back. They had (striker) Beth Mead feeding off scraps, but Beth was excellent and kept making the runs we wanted from her to attack other areas.
“It’s good for us psychologically as when we go down there, we are a step ahead.”
The Sunderland boss is expecting an equally tough challenge at Villa tomorrow.
The Midlanders have one point on the board so far, from a draw at Watford last Sunday, having lost the season-opener to Doncaster Belles. But Mulhern won’t be lulled into any complacency,
“Watford were the Premier League runners-up last season, so a draw there is a good result. Doncaster are favourites this season, so losing to them is no disgrace.
“In pre-season they gave Manchester City a tough game and were 1-0 up against Liverpool before losing 2-1.
“They always give us a very good game - always.
“And they will be especially determined to do well in this game. It’s early days but they won’t want to drop too far behind - even after just three games. There are not a huge amount of games, so it’s important to keep picking up points,
“I rate them very highly and we will give them the greatest respect.”
On the injury front, goalkeeper Rachael Laws is fit again after bruising a foot in the opening day 4-2 win at Durham.
Mulhern will select between her and Helen Alderson, who played in the win against Reading.