Sunderland Ladies 1 Reading 1: Leon goal seals fifth place in WSL1

Skipper Steph Bannon with her fan club after here final Sunderland appearance
Skipper Steph Bannon with her fan club after here final Sunderland appearance
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Supersub Beverly Leon clinched the point which sealed fifth place for Sunderland Ladies in the WSL:1 Spring Series.

The Lady Black Cats, who were within seconds of a great result in midweek against English champions Manchester City, trailed to a first-half Melissa Fletcher goal.

But Leon struck a 56th-minute leveller for Melanie Reay's side who ensured they finished the competition in mid-table and gave retiring skipper Steph Bannon a fitting finale.

Sunderland made the brighter start and had a chance to go in front during a minute's applause for Bannon, Holmes shooting just wide having stormed forward in typical fashion

Reading though were soon into their rhythm and Hilde Olsen saved a Jade Moore header.

The Royals had much of the ball without really hurting the hosts but they were given a helping hand to take the lead in the 29th minute.

It came via a poor decision from referee Paul Brown to award the visitors a soft free-kick against Lucy Staniforth. The dead ball in though was an excellent one and FLETCHER got the last touch to put Reading ahead.

Five minutes later, the Royals squandered a great chance to make it 2-0 when Kirsty Linnett was clean through but her shot was weak and Olsen saved comfortably.

Half-time
Sunderland 0
Reading 1


The Royals had some pressure at the start of the half, but the first goal came for the home side.

Dominique Bruinenberg threaded a great ball to sub LEON who took a nice touch before powering into the area and beating Mary Earps from 12 yards.

Sunderland had two escapes in quick succession.

Bannon lost the ball to Lauren Bruton who was in on goal but shot wide of Olsen's right stick.

And the Norwegian rescued the Lady Black Cats by scooping the ball off her line after another dangerous Reading set-piece soon after.

Sunderland brought on teenagers Bridget Galloway and Poppy Pattinson and there was some good energy in the home play.

But they could not test Earps and it was Reading who almost stole it when Bruton's powerful shot from the edge of the area was superbly saved by Olsen diving to her right.

FULL-TIME
SUNDERLAND 1
READING 1

Sunderland: Olsen, Holmes, Bannon, Sharp, Williams, Ramshaw, Bruinenberg, Lambert, Staniforth (Gallowayb 54), Joice (Patttinson 71), Roche
Unused Subs: Preuss, Brown, Watt
Goal: Leon 56
Booked: Staniforth 45, Holmes 64

Reading: Earps, Jane (Hines 82), Bartrip, McGee, Van den Berg, Allen, Bruton, Estcourt (Lahmari 55), Moore, Linnett, Fletcher (Scott 65)
Subs: O'Rourke, De Bunsen, Moloney, Green
Goal: Fletcher 29
Booked: Allen 45
Referee: Paul Brown
Att: 464