Sunderland Ladies looking to end their barren run against Arsenal

Arsenal Women's Beth Mead (right) in action against Chelsea Ladies' Hannah Blundell during the recent SSE Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley.
Arsenal Women's Beth Mead (right) in action against Chelsea Ladies' Hannah Blundell during the recent SSE Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley.

Sunderland Ladies play their penultimate game of the season when they host Arsenal Women at Mariners Park tonight (7pm).

And they are looking to end a run of eight games without a win, with a 1-1 draw at home to Everton providing their only point from their last seven league games.

That run has seen the Lady Black Cats drop to second bottom, though still 11 points better off than bottom side Yeovil, who head to Mariners Park on Sunday for the final matchday of the season.

Sunderland’s last outing was a creditable 2-1 defeat at Chelsea in a game that saw the Blues take a massive stride towards winning the league title.

Arsenal, who feature England and former Sunderland stars Beth Mead and Jordan Nobbs, will provide another huge test though.

They are the Continental Cup winners, losing finalists in the FA Cup, joint third in the league and also saw off title-chasing Manchester City 2-1 in their last outing.

Sunderland’s Rachel Pitman said: “We want to put in a good performance, but we want results and we want to end the season well.

“We are under no illusions that Arsenal are a top team, but we have just performed very well against the best team so that gives us a lot of confidence going into the game. Hopefully we can put in a performance to match.

“We know we can get a good result if we play to our best.

“There will be some different things we will work on in training, but at the end of the day we concentrate on how we perform and how we match up against the team we are playing. There will be some slight changes, but we will play how we usually play.”

Arsenal striker Mead made her name at Sunderland but has really blossomed for the Gunners this season, earning her England debut along the way.

Mead scored the winning goal against Manchester City at the weekend.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” she said. “It came through to me and I got on the end of it. I was just glad to get the goal for the team.

“As a team, we just need a bit more consistency (next season). We’ve been very up and down all season with results that haven’t gone our way.

“Our main aim is to recreate the football we played (against Manchester City), to enjoy it and just keep pushing on.”