SUNDERLAND Women’s sizzling start to the summer continued with a 4-1 win at Coventry yesterday.
The Lady Black Cats have now won their first three Premier League games of the season – and a League Cup tie – to lie three points clear at the top of the table.
The visitors began strongly, with Natalie Gutteridge denied in the first minute.
The hosts broke soon after and had the ball in the Sunderland net, but it was ruled offside.
With Coventry kicking with the wind behind them, they put some pressure on the Wearsiders, only to be hit by a sucker punch.
Vicki Greenwell’s long pass split the home defence to find Beth Mead on the right. She cleverly beat her marker and played in Keira Ramshaw, who slotted home from six yards.
Coventry reacted well and piled forward, with a long-range effort from the dangerous Helen Dermody striking the post.
Both teams had chances before the break, with Gutteridge heading wide from close range, while Sunderland keeper Rachael Laws made a smart save from Bianca Bragg.
Sunderland took the game to the hosts from the off in the second period and soon doubled their lead, with Kelly McDougall scoring a 25-yard screamer.
Soon after, the visitors sealed the win when Mead weaved past three defenders and the keeper, to fire into the empty net.
Sunderland conceded a penalty in the 75th minute after Bragg was brought down in the area and Dermody slotted home.
But the Sky Blues could not build on their goal, while Sophie Williams, Mead and Rachel Furness all went close to adding to Sunderland’s lead before McDougall killed the game at 4-1.
Manager Mick Mulhern was delighted with the display, saying: “We were given a tough test.
“Not many win at Coventry. The players rose to the challenge and we thoroughly deserved the three points.”
SUNDERLAND: Laws, Christon (Holmes) Bannon, Wilson, Greenwell, Furness, McDonald, Gutteridge, Ramshaw, Williams, Mead (McFadden). Subs not used: Alderson, Caldwell, Salicki.