Roche urges Sunderland Ladies to regroup after Chelsea disappointment

Stephanie Roche insists there were positives for Sunderland Ladies in last night's 2-1 Women's Super League defeat at Chelsea.

Thursday, 26th May 2016, 9:30 am
Stephanie Roche

The Irish international had Sunderland ahead early on, but Katie Chapman and Fran Kirby turned it around.

The defeat leaves Sunderland in eighth place, with three points, and only above bottom club Doncaster.

“We always knew we would have to defend deep and not let them get behind us and, in the end, we were chasing the ball for 90 minutes, which is very hard,” said striker Roche.

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“I thought we held good lines and tried not to let them get behind us and then we got the goal and gave us a little boost, but the sucker punch was they got the goal back straight away.

“We just need to regroup now and get ourselves going for the second half of the season.”

Sunderland struck first, in the sixth minute, when Beth Mead battled her way onto the ball just outside the box before setting up Roche to fire past Hedvig Lindahl.

However, this woke the hosts from their slumber and within two minutes they equalised, Chapman heading in Karen Carney’s free-kick.

After further attacks they went ahead in the 21st minute as Eniola Aluko’s cross was nodded past Rachael Laws by Kirby. Chelsea’s half-time lead could have been larger, but good chances were spurned by Kirby, Aluko and Niamh Fahey.

In the second period, Aluko forced two fine saves from Laws as Ji So-Yun, Gemma Davison, Carney and Kirby also went close.

Sunderland rarely threatened in attack, with a deflected Rachel Furness shot the closest they came to troubling Lindahl.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Lindahl; Blundell, Fahey, Flaherty, C Rafferty (Borges 26); Chapman, So-Yun (Spence 70); Davison (England 80), Carney, Aluko, Kirby. Subs not used: Spencer, Bright, Bailey, L Rafferty.

Sunderland (4-5-1): Laws; Brown, Bannan, Sharp, Williams; Staniforth, Chaplen, McDougall (Furness 67), Ramshaw (Johnstone 61), Roche; Mead. Subs not used: Olsen, Joice, Beer, Potts, Holmes. Bookings: Furness 75, Brown 82

Referee: Robert Whitton. Attendance: 1,397

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