NIKITA Parris condemned Sunderland to a narrow defeat in their first ever home clash in Women’s Super League 1.
Manchester City went ahead before the break but didn’t have things all their own way as the Lady Black Cats, who beat reigning WSL 1 champions Liverpool last week, went in search of an elusive second-half leveller.
City took the lead on 19 minutes, Jill Scott flicking on a corner from the right and Parris stealing in to tap home from close range.
They nearly doubled the lead five minutes later, when a right-wing free kick found Sarah Wiltshire whose shot was well saved by Sunderland keeper Rachel Laws.
Beth Mead tested Alex Brooks on the half hour mark, but the Sunderland striker slipped as she pulled the trigger, allowing the City keeper a comfortable save.
Sunderland spurned a great opportunity with 12 minutes remaining, when Brooke Chaplen headed a right wing cross wide when in yards of room.
The Lady Black Cats were unlucky not to get a free-kick on the edge of the City box late on when Mead seemed to be fouled by Jennifer Beattie but referee Lucy May ruled otherwise.
Parris then came close to sealing the game, firing a long-range effort just over the bar, while subs Natasha Harding and Krystle Johnson both hit the bar in stoppage time – but the visitors had done enough to secure the points.
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Sunderland: Laws; Holmes, Bannon, Sharp, T Williams; Furness, Chaplen, McFadden; Ramshaw, Mead, S Williams (Kelly 46). Subs not used: Black, Greenwell, Gutteridge, McDougall, Wilson, Bass.
Bookings: Furness (45), Kelly (46), Bannon (66), T Williams (68), McFadden (80)
Red cards: None.
Man City: Brooks; McManus (Lipman 82), Nightingale, Radtke, Stokes; Christiansen, Scott, Beattie; Parris, Duggan (Johnston 71), Wiltshire (Harding 67).
Subs not used : Seasman
Red cards: None
Referee: Lucy May