Hayley Sharp heaped praise on Sunderland team-mate Beth Mead after her brace helped them stroll past Doncaster Rovers Belles in FA Women’s Super League 1.
Mead opened the scoring with a neat finish after Leandra Little’s red card for a professional foul put Doncaster on the back foot.
Sharp doubled their lead minutes later before Mead added an outstanding third with a fine finish from 20 yards, although her evening came to a premature end due to injury in the second half.
However, Sunderland continued to push forward and Brooke Chaplen made it four from Madeleine Hill’s pass.
“She is phenomenal. She can score from anywhere. She’s got great ability and she’s only young and I think having her on form is an excellent addition for the team,” said Sharp.
“She works hard, she puts goals away. She’s just an excellent striker.
“It’s nice to finally score a goal but I just put a shift in for the girls. We work together, it’s not a goal for me, it’s a goal for the team and it helped get us a 4-0 win today and we needed the goals.
“We’ve struggled in terms of keeping clean sheets but today’s a great positive, especially for the defence.
“There are great positives in that we do have the ability to keep clean sheets and hopefully can build on that now.”
Doncaster manager Emma Coates was left deflated after her side’s performance, and admitted a lack of confidence is costing her team.
The Yorkshire side are pointless in the league and sit bottom of the table, although they did beat Sunderland in the Continental Tyres Cup last week.
“We’ve done a lot of work with the girls on confidence with us having a tough start to the season,” she said.
“We had such an incredible high last week. We wanted to continue with that and it feels like the world is against us at the minute.
“The things that are going wrong are controllable which is frustrating.
“What’s more frustrating is that we were conceding goals from set-pieces. We still should be able to cope in that situation with 10 players on the pitch.
“I wish the girls took a little bit of responsibility and ownership on that.
“If we could have got our heads around the mental side of being down to ten players, and had the bit of grit and determination we could have stayed in the game a bit longer.”
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