Sunderland Ladies aim to tighten up for visit of goal-crazy Chelsea

Steph Bannon
Steph Bannon
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Skipper Steph Bannon says Sunderland Ladies are aiming to bounce back on Sunday when they return to home soil in the WSL1 Spring Series.

The Lady Black Cats play host to title contenders Chelsea at Hetton (2pm), still smarting from Wednesday’s 4-0 defeat at Liverpool.

Melanie Reay’s side had gone 280 minutes in the top flight without conceding a goal in an unbeaten start to the programme.

But when Caroline Weir was given the opportunity to move forward and pull the trigger, the Liverpool star found the net with a 30-yard stunner.

The WSL1 leaders added three more goals to make it a hard night for the Wearsiders, who now have an equally-tough task against the Blues.

Chelsea are in second place, six points behind the Reds, but have two games in hand. They are running riot in front of goal, averaging four per match to date.

And Bannon says the Lady Black Cats can’t afford a repeat of Wednesday night. “We were very disappointed with our performance – I don’t think we showed up in the first half and that’s not been like us so far in the Spring Series,” she said.

“We’ve been hard to beat and defended really well.

“We let ourselves down on Wednesday – we weren’t well-organised, we weren’t compact and we didn’t win our one v one battles.

“We can’t turn up and play like we did at Liverpool.

“If we play like that against Chelsea, we’ll get turned over again.

“We need to be harder to beat and be better one v one.

“Defensively, we were very organised in the first three games and we must get back to that.”

While Sunderland were upset with some generous defending, there were no shortage of chances.

In fact, but for the woodwork, and a string of top-drawer saves by Reds stopper Siobhan Chamberlain, the away side could have frightened the Scousers.

“We had quite a few chances and on another night they might have gone in,” said Bannon.

“The keeper played well – she pulled off some good saves.

“We do know we need to score more goals and we created opportunities but, unfortunately, it wasn’t mean to be.

“But we’re looking to getting back home and trying to bounce back.”