Relentless Sunderland Ladies smash Middlesbrough Women in Wear-Tees derby to maintain FAWNL lead

A relentless Sunderland Ladies triumphed in the Wear-Tees derby at Hetton against Middlesbrough Women to maintain a six-point lead over second-placed Derby Ladies in the FAWNL.

The home side netted the opener through an Olivia Watt own goal with Bridget Galloway adding two more before half-time.

Lucy Scarr pulled one back, but strikes from Keira Ramshaw, Georgia Gibson and Katie Barker restored then extended Sunderland’s lead.

Following the Lady Black Cats’ narrow loss to WSL1 Birmingham City in the FA Cup, manager Mel Reay named an unchanged side.

Sunderland triumphed in the Wear-Tees derby at Hetton this evening.

It took until the 6th minute for Sunderland to register their first attempt on goal as Gibson pulled her shot wide after Mollie Lambert’s raking cross.

The Lasses drew first blood in the 14th minute when Gibson popped up again to deliver a dangerous cross into the box from the right-hand side which was turned into the net by Middlesbrough defender Watt.

And Sunderland added a second 33 minutes when Ramshaw - making her 200th appearance in red and white - sent Galloway through to chip over the on-rushing keeper.

The striker bagged a second just eight minutes later, latching onto a brilliant through ball from Grace McCatty.

The game was delayed for eleven minutes as Middlesbrough’s Emma Foster went down with an unfortunate neck injury, she was eventually replaced by Libby Dixon.

Boro came out flying out in the second half when Scarr latched onto Claudia Moan’s spilt catch to turn home, providing Steph Turnbull’s side with a glimmer of hope.

However, Ramshaw fired back immediately for Sunderland, restoring the home side’s three-goal cushion.

And she nearly netted a second with a looping header following an excellent lofted free-kick from Potts, goalkeeper Laura Wareham producing a stunning save to deny Sunderland’s skipper.

Gibson bagged a fifth with eight minutes remaining with a stunning long-range effort before substitute Barker added a sixth six minutes later.

Sunderland Ladies: Moan, Herron (Barker), Potts, Griffiths, Ramshaw (c), Lambert, Galloway, Gibson, Beer (Boyes), McCatty, Farrugia (Mullen)

Unused subs: Cowling, Corney

Middlesbrough Women: Wareham, Bass, Luke, Hutchinson (McQuade), Foster (Dixon), Watt (Wilson), Dodds, Brown, Young, Dobson, Scarr

Unused subs: Dixon, Bell, Marsh