SUNDERLAND entertained the nation when they opened their Women’s Super League programme with a victory at Liverpool – now they hope to “put on a show” for their own fans.
The Lady Black Cats are at home for the first time in WSL1 this evening when they take on Manchester City at Eppleton CW (kick-off 6.30pm).
City will be a very hard team to break down – they keep the ball really wellRachael Laws
Sunderland, newly-promoted to the top division of the women’s game, stunned champions Liverpool last Wednesday, Beth Mead scoring the first goal and then winning the penalty for Brooke Chaplen’s match-clincher.
Keeper Rachael Laws, outstanding as the last line of defence, hopes the loyal fans who cheered them to the WSL2 title are back at the Hetton ground and is keeping her fingers crossed for some new support.
“If people watched the Liverpool game on BT Sport, they will have seen we try to play attractive football,” said the 24-year-old.
“I hope it was a good advert for the women’s game, and for Sunderland Ladies.
“We get good support and hopefully people who have never watched women’s football before will come along and watch us now.
“Hopefully, we’ll put on a show, play good football and thrill the crowd a bit.”
If Sunderland can repeat the performance they gave at the home of the league champions then they will have a chance of making it two wins from two.
Laws acknowledges that City – who drew their opener at Birmingham – will be every bit as good as Liverpool, but says the Carlton Fairweather’s Sunderland side can take great confidence from their win over the Reds.
“Man City have an excellent team,” the stopper told the Echo. “They have strengthened a lot over the close-season.
“City will be a very hard team to break down – they keep the ball really well.
“We need to be strong and disciplined like we were last week.
“Carlton drummed the gameplan into us and we did it to a T.
“We were solid and whenever we lost the ball we got back in quickly and held a good shape.
“Every game we know we must set up well and hopefully we can do that.
“The girls did their jobs (in all areas of the pitch).
“We were pleased with how clinical we were.
“I think we only had four shots on target, but we scored two, which is a great ratio. In the past, we might have had 20 to get just one or two!
“We’ve not always been the most clinical in front of goal, but we were at Liverpool and hopefully we can continue that.”
City have splashed the cash to assemble a squad they hope will match the achievements of their men’s team and win the league title.
And there are a number of familiar faces in the visiting squad, four ex-Sunderland products, Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Demi Stokes and Lucy Bronze.
Injury may mean only skipper Scott and Stokes will be at Eppleton, but Laws spoke highly of her former team-mates.
“It will be great to see them back,” she said. “I was probably on the bench when Steph and Jill played here.
“But I played in the team with Demi and Lucy. I still speak to Lucy a lot and have known Demi a long, long time.
“They are all good players and nice girls who have kept both feet on the ground.”