Sunderland striker ready for action again

AWARD WINNERS: Beth Mead and Mick Mulhern
AWARD WINNERS: Beth Mead and Mick Mulhern
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AWARD-WINNER Beth Mead can’t wait to pull her boots on again this weekend.

The 18-year-old today picked up her prize as the top scorer in last season’s Premier League as Sunderland Ladies scooped a third successive title.

It was a good day for the Lady Black Cats in London, with boss Mick Mulhern also winning the Premier League manager of the year award for a third time as the Football Association celebrated 20 years of running the female game in England.

Mead blasted 17 goals last season but her last taste of action was in August as part of the England U19 side that lost to France in the final of the European Championships.

“I’m over the moon with the award,” she beamed.

“I’ve worked so hard, but couldn’t have done it without my Sunderland family.

“We’ve had a long break since the end of last season as we don’t start in the Super League until early next year.

“I’ll be so glad to get back to playing games – I’ve been really bored!”

Mead will be looking to get back on the goal trail on Sunday when she plays in the ‘Clash of the Titans’ charity game, when Sunderland Present take on Sunderland Past – including the likes of England internationals Jill Scott, Steph Houghton, Jordan Nobbs, Lucy Bronze and Carly Telford.

The game was originally scheduled for Eppleton CW (2pm), but a waterlogged pitch has forced a move, and the game now goes ahead at Durham City’s New Ferens Park, with an 11am kick-off. The event is being held in honour of three-year-old Finlay Kennedy. The youngster, from Penshaw, has an undiagnosed immune system condition, and has to have blood transfusions every week to maintain his health.

Speaking about her team-mates, Mead added: “We’ve been working hard in strength and conditioning training for quite a while now.

“I’m definitely feeling the benefit, but it will be nice to be kicking a ball again!”

Admission to Sunday’s charity game is £3 adults and £1 for concessions (pay at the gate). Funds will go to the Blood Foundation,

There will also be a raffle with a signed England Women’s shirt donated by Jill Scott, boots by Steph Houghton and gloves by goalkeeper Carly Telford, plus other prizes.

“It’s a great cause and the day should be a lot of fun. We’d love as many people as possible to come along,” said organiser, and Sunderland fitness coach, Julie Twaddle.

Also at today’s FA awards, Arsenal’s Houghton won the Super League Goal of the Season award.

The big winner was Liverpool striker Natasha Dowie, who collected the League’s Top Goalscorer award and also picked up the Players’ Player of the Year Award.

Reds boss Matt Beard was named FA WSL Manager of the Year, after leading his side to the title.