Kelly McDougall hailed the “team ethos” of Sunderland after helping the Lady Black Cats clinch their place in the 2017 Women’s Super League 1.
The seasoned campaigner scored the stunning match-clinching third goal in the magnificent 4-1 triumph at Doncaster Rovers Belles.
It moved Carlton Fairweather’s side up to seventh place above Reading but the key number is nine – the number of points they are clear of basement club Rovers.
While Doncaster have three games in hand and can still overtake Sunderland, it would require a huge transformation of results.
Sunderland are as good as safe and it proved a sweet night at the Keepmoat for McDougall whose 69th-minute goal made the points safe after first-half efforts by full-backs Tori Williams and Abby Holmes.
Sub Madelaine Hill’s late finish added the gloss to a memorable evening.
One of the club’s most influential figures, the 32-year-old has spent the season on bench duty, but last night stepped in for injured midfield dynamo Rachel Furness to great effect.
“It was a great team performance,” declared McDougall. “We had four different scorers which was great – we’ve not had that all season.
“But it was the team ethos which stood out.
“We’ve had to dig deep, we had injuries to key players and to then come back from going a goal down to win 4-1 showed massive character.
“I’ve had to wait a long time to get my chance and I enjoyed it. But, for me, the most important thing was the team doing well and getting the win.
“My outlook has always been for the team, being a good professional and doing my bit for the club.
“I do believe everyone here has their part to play.
“It was a great performance and I think it was the team ethos which got us through.”