SUNDERLAND Women’s first game back after a Christmas break had to be abandoned after a late injury to the visiting Manchester City goalkeeper Danielle Brown.
The visitors were leading 1-0 with ten minutes to go when Sunderland’s Abby Holmes challenged for a loose ball and clashed with Brown.
Holmes was hurt in the collision but hobbled away, but Brown stayed down, shouting out at the pain.
An ambulance was called and with no play for over half an hour, the referee had no alternative but to abandon the game, which will new be replayed at a later date.
Brown was taken to hospital with fears she had broken her leg, but an X-ray showed no break. She will have scan later this week after swelling goes down to see if there is any ligament damage.
Sunderland were held at bay by a determined City side from the start, despite being put under heavy pressure.
Only the woodwork denied the home side early on when Steph Bannon, Rachel Furness and Beth Mead combined to set up Keira Ramshaw, who crashed a header crashed against the bar.
Vicki Greenwell, Natalie Gutteridge and Kelly McDougall also went close when out of the blue the visitors grabbed the lead with their first meaningful attack in the 28th minute.
Up until this point, keeper Rachael Laws had been a virtual spectator in the Sunderland goal but a quick break caught the home defence short of numbers as the ball was swept across the face of the goal and Krystal Johnston poked it home at the far post.
Sunderland poured forward again and Ramshaw, Mead and Gutteridge were all unlucky not to equalise as City held on to their lead at the break.
The second half continued in the same manner with the visitors’ leading a charmed life.
Shots rained in from Ramshaw, Mead, McDougall and Abbey Joice, with City rarely managing to get out of their own half.
However, they did break occasionally and a rare effort come back off the bar before a timely tackle from Becky Salicki averted any danger from former Sunderland striker Sarah Danby.
Further attempts from Sophie Williams and Ramshaw went close and it seemed only a matter of time before an equaliser would arrive when the unfortunate injury occured.
Sunderland: Laws, Holmes, Bannon, Salicki, Greenwell, Ramshaw, McDougall, Furness, Joice(Williams), Gutteridge, Mead. Subs: Alderson, Atkinson, Christon, Sutcliffe.