GOAL ACE Beth Mead says Sunderland Ladies’ success this season has all been about a collective team effort rather than individual stars.
The England Under 20 striker’s prolific form has caught the eye and underpinned Sunderland’s charge towards the WSL2 title.
She has netted six times in the last four games – including two in the 4-1 defeat of Watford last Sunday – as the Lady Black Cats close in on promotion.
But she insists that it is the togetherness in the Sunderland dressing room which has been the real secret to a season in which they have yet to be beaten in the league.
She told the Echo: “It’s great for us when individuals do well.
“It was great for me personally to be included in the England Under 20 World Cup squad and we were all over the moon to see Rachael Laws called up to the senior squad.
“But really the team is not about any one person, it’s about everyone pulling together and helping each other out and that’s what everyone has done this season.
“I wouldn’t be scoring goals if my team-mates weren’t working hard to get me chances and Rachael would be the first to admit that the players in front of her have done brilliantly to help her keep clean sheets in some games this season.
“It’s a great dressing room to be in.
“We all help each other along and that’s one of the reasons why I think we haven’t been beaten this season.
“We never give up because we’re all in together and everyone encourages everybody else.”
Mead scored two goals in the opening 10 minutes of Sunday’s game against Watford Ladies and could have had more in the 4-1 win as Sunderland once against underlined their quality.
Now promotion feels as though it is in touching distance with Sunderland eight points ahead of second-placed Doncaster Belles, who have five games remaining compared to the Black Cats’ four.
But Mead says that Sunderland have not got to be distracted by the title as they count off the games.
She said: “Of course you know it is getting closer, but you just have to concentrate on your own game and your own performances and hope everything works out.
“All I know is that every time we win a game it puts more pressure on Doncaster, so all we have to do is just look to keep this winning streak going as long as possible.”
The Belles can reduce Sunderland’s lead to five points today as they entertain Millwall.
And the Wearsiders face a tough game tomorrow when they travel to face fourth-top Yeovil.
Sunderland have keeper Laws available again after being on the bench for England in their final World Cup qualifier in Montenegro on Wednesday.