Sunderland 1 Reading 1: Beth Mead stars again as Ladies start with draw

Beth Mead
Beth Mead
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Beth Mead earned Sunderland a share of the spoils in the Women's Super League 1 opener against Reading.

Mead, who hit 12 goals last season, was on target again just after half-time to level after the visitors had taken a first-half lead at Hetton.

The Sunderland forward, who was the FA WSL 1’s top goalscorer last campaign, latched on to a through ball within a minute of the restart to cancel out Lois Roche’s first-half free-kick.

Sunderland enjoyed the better of the game’s opening chances with Abbey Joice shooting wide and Brooke Chaplen bringing a save from Reading keeper Grace Maloney.

Shortly before half-time Mead headed towards goal only for Moloney to make the save.

And it was Reading who took the lead a minute later when Roche’s free-kick took a deflection off Lucy Staniforth and bounced past Rachael Laws into the net.

The visitors nearly made it two with Helen Ward intercepting Victoria Williams’ pass, only for Laws to block the shot with her legs.

Sunderland started the second half perfectly, with Mead rounding Moloney and firing in.

Four minutes later, Mead slotted past Moloney, who got the slightest of touches on the shot but, as the ball bobbled goalwards, Reading captain Kirsty McGee slid back to hook it off the line.

Reading had chances to win it, with Laws keeping out a Roche free-kick and also denying Ward and then Emma Follis.

Sunderland (4-3-3): Rachael Laws; Abby Holmes, Steph Bannon, Victoria Williams, Kylla Sjoman; Rachel Furness, Brooke Chaplen, Lucy Staniforth; Abbey Joice (Keira Ramshaw 46), Beth Mead, Krystle Johnston (Emma Kelly, 46). Subs: Hilde Gunn Olsen, Kelly McDougall, Steph Roche, Megan Beer, Charlotte Potts.

Reading (4-3-3): Grace Moloney; Rebecca Jane, Molly Bartrip, Kirsty McGee, Rachel Rowe; Kayleigh Hines, Lois Roche, Charlie Estcourt (Lauren Bruton 58); Helen Ward, Jade Boho Sayo (Nia Jones 90), Emma Follis. Subs: Mary Earps, Shelly Cox, Harriet Scott, Bonnie Horwood, Laura Walkley

Referee: Glen Hart

Attendance: 699

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