Sunderland star targets more goals

Rachel Furness
Rachel Furness
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MIDFIELDER Rachel Furness is looking to add some more run-of-the-mill goals to Sunderland Ladies’ title challenge this season!

The Northern Ireland international netted a screamer last week-end to earn the Lady Black Cats a crucial draw at rivals Doncaster Belles.

She ran with the ball from well inside her own half and shrugged off a couple of challenges before blasting home from outside the Doncaster penalty area.

The strike levelled an early goal from the home side, which came on the break after Furness had hit the post with a header from close range.

“That was my fourth goal of the season but I am frustrated not to have scored more,” she said.

“I would love to contribute more for the team, coming from midfield. I should be scoring more goals with my head as winning headers is a big part of my game.”

Furness admits she will struggle to better her goal at the Keepmoat Stadium though.

“I’ve seen it now on TV but at the time it was a bit of a daze,” she explained.

“I just remember pinching the ball on a Donny attack and trying to counter attack. They had committed players forward and the space opened up for me to run into.

“I looked for support either side but I couldn’t pass because I had defenders around me so i just gave it a crack myself.

“My celebration was limited because I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t believe it had gone in! It’s certainly the best goal I’ve scored for Sunderland.

“International goals do come close, but I think that’s up there at the top.”

The 1-1 draw at Doncaster ended Sunderland’s 100 per cent start to the FA WSL2 season but kept them two points clear of the Belles, who play at bottom-of-the-table Durham today.

The Black Cats host second-bottom Oxford at the Hetton Centre tomorrow, with an 11.30am kick-off.

“The thought after Doncaster was disappointment at first because we set ourselves very high standards,” added Furness. “To not come away with three points was disappointing but after reflecting on the game, a point away from home against a very strong Doncaster side is a good point.

“We hope to build on it tomorrow.”

Sunderland beat Oxford 5-1 in the FA Cup this season and are struggling in the league, but Furness says the visitors will be given full respect.

“Expectations are always high going into games as we strive to get the best out of ourselves every game. We know this will be a very tough game so we can’t take anything for granted. Teams at the bottom of the league are battling every week to justify why they are in the Super League, so no game is comfortable.”

Sunderland will again be without top scorer Beth Mead, who is away in Canada with England for the U20 World Cup.

“It’s a shame we don’t have Beth, as a natural goalscorer will always be a big miss for any team,” said Furness.

“But when you play in a summer league and that’s when international tournaments are played, that’s the reality for teams who are lucky enough to have internationals in them.

“We are all very pleased for Beth getting selected as it’s a great honour to represent your country at any level.

“This is where the team pulls together, adapts and shows that goals can come from different players - including myself.”