SUNDERLAND maintained their 100 per cent start to the season with a hard-fought 3-2 victory in the driving rain yestedray.
The visitors began the game strongly with a good cross from Sophie Williams being headed just over by Natalie Gutteridge.
The early warning signs were not heeded by City, as only a few minutes later Williams crossed again and Beth Mead headed home from close range.
The horrendous conditions were proving difficult for both sides, with heavy rain and wind to contend with.
But Sunderland once again took the game by the scruff of the neck, as Rachel Furness fired in a shot which was blocked.
City began to creep back into the game with a couple of dangerous set-pieces which were dealt with by Vicki Greenwell and Gutteridge.
Soon after, City were awarded a penalty for a handball in the area. Lyndsay Savage tepped up to level the scores midway through the half.
City began to dominate, and grew in confidence, testing keeper Rachael Laws from a free-kick.
Kelly McDougall almost put Sunderland ahead before the break, with a brilliant 25-yard strike which was tipped over by the City keeper.
The Lady Black Cats started the second half well and they went ahead again.
Keira Ramshaw crossed into the area, and the ball fell to Williams, who fired home into the corner.
Sunderland kept up the pressure, with Mead having a shot well saved.
But against the run of play, City’s Farrell crossed the ball which fell to Lee whose low, skidding drive shot across the wet surface squirmed under Laws and into the net.
Barely had City’s celebrations ended, when the visitors regained their advantage, with the hard-working Gutteridge intercepting in the middle of the park and feeding Mead, who skipped past a defender before slotting home.
Sunderland held on comfortably for the their fifth win in five games.
Sunderland: Laws, Bannon (c), Holmes, Wilson, Greenwell, Williams, Furness, Gutteridge, McDougall, Ramshaw, Mead. Subs: Alderson, Christon, Caldwell, Salicki, Sutcliffe.