Sunderland Women follow thrilling River Wear Derby win with an impressive victory away at Birmingham City

Sunderland Women followed up their thrilling River Wear Derby win with an impressive victory away at Birmingham City in the Women’s Championship.

Emily Scarr headed the hosts in front minutes before half time but both sides went into the break level as Jade Pennock equalised almost immediately.

The visitors went ahead again through Jessica Brown’s cool finish with Grace McCatty rounding off a dominant display from the Black Cats.

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Forward Liz Ejupi, a stand-out during last week against Durham, kept her place at St Andrew’s as Sunderland sought their third league win in a row.

Sunderland Women followed up their thrilling River Wear Derby win with an impressive victory away at Birmingham City. Picture by Chris Fryatt.

Sunderland scored a goal out of nothing. Danielle Brown chased a ball down the right flank and did well to hold off two defenders and dig out a cross which was powered home by Scarr at the far post.

They were pegged back within minutes as a loose ball broke to Claudia Walker in whose high ball was met by Pennock who rose highest to nod past Claudia Moan, who was booked for claiming there was a foul on Neve Herron.

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It was more of the same after the interval, but the away side regained the lead with an incisive move. Kosovan international Ejupi, who has provided a much-needed attacking focal point, drove into the area and her perfectly weighted pass to the back post was calmly slotted home by Jessica Brown.

Midway through the second half it was three – Kelly’s swirling corner was met by defender McCatty whose header looped beyond the helpless Thomas.

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Birmingham kept plugging away and would have almost halved the deficit for a lightning reaction save from Moan. A low cross was deflected into the path of Pennock, but the Sunderland goalkeeper repelled her close-range effort with an outstretched leg.

Mel Reay’s side are now up to eighth, 10 points ahead of Coventry United with the majority of those teams below them heading to Wearside in the coming months.

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Looking ahead, a place in the top six isn’t beyond the Black Cats, which will continue their steady progression as they look to regain their place in the top flight.

Sunderland: Moan; Beer, McCatty, Herron, Holmes; Kelly (c), Danielle Brown, Joice, Scarr, Jessica Brown (Watson 77’); Ejupi.

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Subs: Cowling, Griffiths, Ede, McInnes, Dodds, Westrup.