Three wins in a row since the resumption of the women’s domestic football should be a cause of celebration for Sunderland Ladies.
It is. And there is also the not-so-small matter they could go top of the Women’s Super League tomorrow – for around 20 hours anyway – with a win at Bristol.
We set a standard last Saturday and we don’t want to drop below that levelKEIRA RAMSHAW
But there is also a feeling in the squad that they need to bounce back in terms of performance.
Carlton Fairweather’s side are flying at the moment with thrilling Women’s Super League 1 home triumphs over Notts County and Chelsea being followed by a dramatic Continental Tyres Cup victory at Durham.
Factor in a 3-0 success against Birmingham ahead of the mid-season break and Sunderland have four wins on the spin and are THE form side in WSL1.
But Keira Ramshaw, who scored the opening goal in the victory at New Ferens Park in-midweek, says Sunderland need to re-discover the form which stunned leaders Chelsea and shocked the women’s game.
“I think we caused our own problems on Wednesday,” she told the Echo. “But we were able to grind out the result and that’s what good teams do.
“Our first touches were bouncing off us and such like, it wasn’t a good performance.
“We know we need to be better and we’ll be looking to do that at Bristol.
“We set a standard last Saturday and we don’t want to drop below that level.”
Ramshaw was one of the leading lights on the night in the derby, attacking positively and linking up well down the right with the marauding full-back Abby Holmes.
The winger, from Millfield, scored her first goal since the FA Cup defeat at the start of the season, blasting home with her left foot after being set up by Beth Mead.
Fairweather was pleased with her contribution, saying: “It was a very good finish but also very good link up play between four or five players to create that chance
“Keira has been working hard on trying to improve her end-product and if she continues to do that we’ll get more assists and goals from her.”
The player herself echoed her gaffer’s words and hopes it will be the start of an increased output in front of goal. “I think I need to start scoring and chipping in with more goals,” said the 21-year-old whose thoughts immediately turned to the collective unit.
“It was good to get a goal but I feel, at the end of the day, we need to improve our performance.”
Sunderland were grateful at the end to Vicky Greenwell whose corner 46 seconds into stoppage time was turned into her own net by keeper Anna Moorhouse.
It’s not the first time this season, the long-serving left-back’s delivery has set up goals.
“Vicky has a great left foot and I think everyone on the team knows if she has a corner from that side it’s going somewhere near the goal,” added Ramshaw.
“It was a great corner and luck went our way and it went in.”
Greenwell’s free-kick set up the winner for Rachel Furness when Bristol were beaten 2-1 at Hetton earlier in the season. The South-West side prop up the table on two points and are desperate for the points while at the other end, Sunderland know a win would take them to the summit.