LEADERS Sunderland coasted to a 3-0 victory at London Bees to maintain their five-point lead at the top of the FA Women’s Super League 2.
Title rivals Doncaster Rovers Belles were 3-1 winners at Watford, while third-top Reading triumphed 3-0 at Durham to maintain the status quo.
But time is starting to run short for the challengers, with manager Mick Mulhern’s Sunderland and rivals Doncaster having just five games left. Reading are a further four points adrift but with a game in hand.
“I’m very pleased with the performance with good football from back to front,” said Mulhern.
“The girls made good decisions and there could have been a few more goals.
“We deserved more goals as we certainly had a lot of chances.
“We took the easy option all the time and kept on moving the ball nicely. It was a definitely a team performance. We did the right things all over the pitch and it was a 9/10 performance.”
Bees did manage to keep the rampant visitors at bay for long periods but only registered one shot on target.
Sunderland forward Bekki Bass capped a superb performance with the game’s opening goal and an assist, while top scorer Beth Mead and Kelly McDougall also found the target.
To their credit, the hosts probed forward with patient build-up play but Sunderland always looked more dangerous.
Sunderland’s Abby Holmes and striker Mead missed superb chances, while centre-back Hayley Sharp had a header ruled out for offside.
But the visitors soon took a deserved lead as midfielder Bass stroked the ball low beyond Sophie Harris.
The Bees created limited chances but went close as Megan Goss saw an effort saved and striker Andria Georgiou volleyed narrowly wide.
However, the pressure told after the break as Sunderland exerted full control.
They soon doubled their lead as Mead bagged her 11th goal of the season, pouncing on a rebound after Keira Ramshaw’s shot struck the bar.
And midfielder McDougall added a third when she drilled home following excellent work by the impressive Bass on the left-hand side.
LONDON BEES: Harris, Gaylor, Hurley, Brooks, Chappell, Howells, Cooper (Miller 60), Goss (Carson 74), Anderson, Nuttall, Georgiou (Hopcroft 80). Subs not used: Riches, Lawrence, Huggins, Samuels
SUNDERLAND: Laws, Greenwell, Bannon, Sharp, Holmes (Beer 60), Furness, Joice, McDougall, Bass (Kelly 81), Ramshaw, Mead (Williams 64). Subs not used: Alderson, Wilson, Gutteridge, Briggs
H The FA Women’s Super League has been newly expanded to two leagues for 2014. To watch all 18 clubs live in action buy tickets here: http://www.ticketstores.co.uk/fawsl