Sunderland Women are in seventh heaven

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SUNDERLAND Women showed no mercy in a 7-0 demolition of a poor Barnet side to make it two wins out of two in their defence of the FA Women’s Premier League title.

Manager Mick Mulhern was delighted with the win at Eppleton CW, saying: “We dominated from start to finish against an experienced side.

“We are a young squad, yet the most pleasing aspect was the maturity and decision-making of the players both on and off the ball.

“The players were fantastic, and that’s not a word I use often.”

Sunderland showed their intent from the first minute with wave after wave of attack, and the first goal was scored in the fourth minute, with Beth Mead cutting inside and placing the ball into the far right corner from eight yards.

Keira Ramshaw and Sophie Williams looked very dangerous on the flanks, and after a couple of half-chances, Sunderland eventually produced a clear-cut opportunity to double their lead.

Vicky Greenwell did well on the left, delivering a delicious ball to the back stick where the impressive Williams was unmarked, but she mistimed her jump and headed over from inside the six-yard box.

Barnet winger Chontelle Lawrence had a few mazy runs from midfield, but without an end product.

Sunderland’s Kelly McDougal shot straight at the Barnet keeper Cherie Rowlands before the hosts made it 2-0 on 28 minutes. A well-worked throw-in on halfway found Williams, who guided a pinpoint ball to the onrushing Ramshaw, who showed strength and composure to smash the ball powerfully over the keeper from an acute angle on the right.

Sunderland’s industrious midfield trio of Rachel Furness, McDougall and Natalie Gutteridge kept Barnet at bay, and the game was all but over with a third goal on 44 minutes.

Persistent play from Gutteridge in a flowing move ended with Mead drilling in a low ball into the box which was spilled by Rowlands, straight into the path of Ramshaw, who stroked home from four yards.

It was 4-0 seven minutes into the second period. McDougall broke down the right and her cross-cum-shot lobbed over the helpless Rowlands, off the post and into the back of the net.

Rachel Laws, in the home goal, was comfortable throughout, dealing easily with a pair of Cheryl Williams free-kicks.

Sophie Williams’ 30-yard shot created Sunderland’s fifth goal. Rowland’s tipped it on to the bar, the rebound falling to Mead for a simple finish.

McDougall added a penalty for 6-0 after Leanne Reidy handled in the area, then Williams struck the post before Laws thwarted Jenny Kikomeko in a rare Barnet break.

Sunderland, though, had the last word, adding a seventh goal when sub Abby Holmes capitalised on a poor punch from the keeper to drive into the box and slot home.

SUNDERLAND WOMEN: Laws, Christon (Holmes), Wilson, Bannon (Chidester), Greenwell, Ramshaw, McDougall, Furness (Caldwell), Williams, Mead, Gutteridge.