Joice blow for Sunderland Ladies

GETTING SHIRTY: Abbey Joice is grabbed by a London Bees defender. Picture by Susan Gutteridge.
GETTING SHIRTY: Abbey Joice is grabbed by a London Bees defender. Picture by Susan Gutteridge.
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SUNDERLAND Ladies have been hit with another injury blow, with striker Abbey Joice ruled out for up to six weeks with ankle ligament damage, writes Neil Watson.

The 18-year-old was stretchered off in Sunday’s 1-0 win against London Bees.

There is a silver lining to this cloud, though, with the Super League season taking a five-week break after this Sunday’s trip to Watford.

If her recovery goes to plan, Joice could yet be ready to play in the first game on the resumption of the season, at home to Yeovil on Sunday, June 28.

The busy striker has formed a good partnership with top scorer Beth Mead this season. Joice has two goals to her name, with Mead leading the way with five from seven games.

Mead scored the only goal at Eppleton CW on Sunday to maintain the Lady Black Cats’ 100 per cent record in the league. They only trail WSL2 leaders Doncaster Belles on goal difference, with both sides having won four out of four.

It’s been a tough time for the Sunderland camp, with Natalie Gutteridge, Lauren Briggs, Sarah McFadden and Becky Salicki all out with anterior cruciate ligament injuries.

Gutteridge and Briggs, though, could yet play some part for Sunderland this season.

H Durham boss Lee Sanders, meanwhile, thinks some of his side need to take a look at themselves after they were thumped 4-0 by Reading on Sunday.

The Wildcats are yet to pick up a point after the first four games of the season.

“We are really disappointed because we would do well for 25 or 30 minutes but then we would get sloppy and give the ball away,” said Sanders.

“You can’t give the ball away to players like Fran Kirby (who scored a hat-trick) because she is outstanding and can punish you.

“I think they should be disappointed and some of the basics aren’t there at the moment.

“We didn’t clear the ball and we were punished and that is a basic error.

“I don’t think the scoreline reflects the match but some of the players need to look at themselves and realise that they need to do a bit better.”