Mead doubles up for Sunderland Ladies

TWO UP: Beth Mead.
TWO UP: Beth Mead.
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SUNDERLAND boss Mick Mulhern believes few teams will leave Aston Villa with the kind of result they achieved to remain perfect in the FA Women’s Super League Two season.

Beth Mead netted in the ninth minute and the 40th, as well as hitting the post – all in the first half – while Abbey Joice added a third at the death in Sunderland’s defeat of Villa yesterday.

Sunderland have now dispatched Durham, Reading and Aston Villa to start the FA WSL2 season and Mulhern admits other teams will be hard pushed to follow their lead in the West Midlands.

“Three out of three – we can’t complain – but there’s no easy game at this level. This is a great result for us to come to the Villa and win 3-0 because teams don’t do that,” he said.

“It’s always a difficult place to come, they are always well organised and get behind the ball very well, but we had a game plan and to be fair it worked.

“It was never going to be easy we were up against it with their set pieces and corners, but our girls were very resilient, we showed a lot of character and we picked off Villa bit by bit.”

The first chance of the game fell to the visitors in the fourth minute when Keira Ramshaw was put through by Rachel Furness but her shot went just wide of the post.

But Sunderland did take the lead on moments later with a close-range shot from Mead before Villa almost equalised as Jade Richards headed just wide from a Chloe Jones free-kick.

Mead was denied a second by the post after 15 minutes but did get it just before the break from close range yet again following a fine Vicki Greenwell cross.

Villa had a flurry of chances to get into the game after the break as Carly Davies was stopped by Rachael Laws and Alicia Robinson’s rebound from close range was cleared off the line.

Further opportunities arose and substitute Olivia Fergusson had shot herself cleared off the line before Joice added a third for Sunderland from a Mead pass in the 89th minute.

Aston Villa manager Ron Mellor said: “We knew Sunderland would bring a very good side and we talked about how we would tackle them but we didn’t do it in the first half.

“We had several chances but we didn’t take them, they had two chances and scored them both. At the end of the day, we were 2-0 down at half-time.

“In the second half we were better and I counted eight chances, good chances at that and one of those cleared off the line. I think in the second half we were the better side.”

Sunderland: Laws, Beer, Wilson, Bannon, Greenwell, Bass (Kelly, 62), Joice, Furness, McDougall, Ramshaw, Mead.

H Head coach Rob Atkin likened Durham’s challenge in FA WSL2 to that of Hartlepool competing in the Champions League, after his side’s 2-1 defeat at home to Watford.

Striker Jo Wilson netted twice as Watford secured their first win of the season at the expense of Durham, who have now lost three from three.

Wilson’s two first-half goals were enough to secure a narrow victory despite substitute Yasmine Hardy pulling one back for the hosts late on.

Atkin said: “I was talking to somebody the other day – if you were told they were putting Hartlepool in the Champions League and they wanted you to coach them – that is what it is like for us. There are no illusions.

“We know who we’re up against. There are a few teams who are starting off at the bottom and we’re one of them.”

H The FA Women’s Super League has been newly expanded to two leagues for 2014. To watch all 18 clubs live in action buy tickets here: