Sunderland too strong for Watford

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SUNDERLAND Ladies took a big stride towards promotion after a dominant victory over Watford Ladies reaffirmed their status as WSL2 leaders.

Beth Mead struck twice in the opening ten minutes to give the Lady Black Cats a fantastic start and, despite conceding a Sasha Adamson strike, further goals from Keira Ramshaw and Sophie Williams finished things off.

Abby Holmes earned the hosts a penalty in the very first minute, which striker Mead duly converted before going on to head home Kelly McDougall’s free-kick shortly afterwards.

The England Under-20 star might have had a hat-trick inside 15 minutes from another free-kick but her narrow miss was just one of a host of chances Sunderland couldn’t convert.

They seemingly paid the price for their failings just before half-time when Watford striker Adamson benefited from a goalkeeping error to power home from 15 yards.

Sunderland however began the second half undeterred and Ramshaw’s emphatic finish in the 51st minute restored their two-goal lead.

Ramshaw could have had her second but saw a powerful effort hit the post, while skipper Stephanie Bannon nodded wide from two yards out.

The game was then sealed by substitute Williams, as she added a fourth with a classy finish in the 82nd minute, to ensure Sunderland maintain a healthy advantage at the top.

Sunderland: Alderson, Holmes (Beer 69), Bannon, Sharp, Greenwell, McDougall (Briggs 85), Furness, Bass (Williams 58), Joice, Mead, Ramshaw. Subs not used: Harkness, Wilson Gutteridge, Johnson.

Watford: Davey, Robe, Gunn, Wride, Butterwick, Mays, Donnelly, Farrow, Natkiel, Adamson, Mosengo (Deacon 77). Subs not used: Burgess, Hill, Scheffer, Lee.

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