Beth Mead can’t wait to see the back of this season so Sunderland “can go again” in the 2017 Women’s Super League.
But that does not mean that Mead and the Lady Black Cats will not be straining every sinew to end the 2016 programme on a high note.
We had high expectations having done so well last year, we wanted to do better than we did in 2015BETH MEAD
A victory over Birmingham City at Eppleton CW on Sunday will guarantee Carlton Fairweather’s team a finishing position of seventh (kick-off 6pm).
It’s a far cry from 12 months ago when Sunderland ended in fourth after being title challengers until the last few weeks of the season.
Mead was also the darling of the WSL1 season, winning the golden boot as the competition’s top scorer.
This time around, the 21-year-old has not had it her own way – she has scored six times and is ‘only’ joint top scorer at the club with Brooke Chaplen.
”We had high expectations having done so well last year,” said the striker. “We wanted to do better than we did in 2015.
“But it’s been a tough and long campaign – we probably can’t wait to start again next season and improve on what we’ve done this year.
“I’d have liked to have scored more, but it’s not been meant to be I suppose.
“It’s been a frustrating season, not just for me but for the team, but we want to end on a positive note on Sunday.
“If we can get the win over Birmingham that will put a spring in our steps going into our break and then we can go again in January, when we come back for pre-season.”
Sunday’s match against the Blues will be no gimme.
City are guaranteed fifth place in the table and have lost only three times.
They are miserly at the back, conceding just 12 goals, a figure which contrasts sharply with Sunderland who have leaked 34.
But the Blues have only found the opposition net 11 times – five fewer than the Cats. Should the home defence get it right on Sunday and the side can feed Mead then they have a chance of a winning home finale.
“It’s going to be a hard game,” said Mead, who was talking to the Echo in conjunction with BT Sport. “City have had a good season and they’ve got it right defensively – they don’t let many in.
“They drew 1-1 with [champions] Man City recently, that shows how tough it will be on Sunday.
“But we are desperate to get something on Sunday and end a poor season on a high. Our supporters have turned out all year here and it would be nice to give them a win .”
l BT Sport is your home of unmissable live football and the official home of the Women’s Super League in the UK. Visit www.btsport.com for more information.