Emma Kelly is urging her Sunderland team-mates to keep up the momentum after they recorded a sixth-straight win in all competitions with a 5-2 FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup victory over Everton.
Kelly bagged a goal either side of half-time while Beth Mead also claimed a double and Stephanie Roche grabbed her first Sunderland goal.
Everton battled hard and scored through Emily Hollinshead and Michelle Hinnigan but they couldn’t keep up with the FA WSL 1 leaders, and Kelly doesn’t want Sunderland to take their foot off the pedal.
“I think it was a really good performance,” she said.
“Over the last couple of games I don’t think we have been playing at our best, I think we’ve picked it up this game, and that’s shown as we have scored five goals.
“I hadn’t scored in quite a while before last week, it’s nice to get two goals, I’ve been told to be more confident and direct so obviously that is paying off.
“The momentum is huge, we can’t show any weaknesses to other teams, I think we’ve got to keep strong and keep consistent, momentum is extremely important.
“We have Manchester City next up in this competition and we’ve played them before and didn’t have the best result, but I think recently we’ve showed how good we are against some big teams like Chelsea, we are just going to go in confident and hope for the best.”
And despite suffering a second consecutive Continental Cup loss, Everton coach Nicola Anderson was delighted to see her side refuse to throw in the towel.
“We knew coming here it was going to be a tough test, Sunderland have been in fantastic form and we knew it was going to be challenge coming here,” Anderson said.
“We knew Beth Mead was going to be a threat, she was in fine form, and it was our job to make sure we contained here.
“We could have downed tools but we persisted, we kept working had on the gameplan we wanted to do, we kept fighting, we kept battling, we kept pressing and that showed huge character for the players.”
After a frantic opening, Sunderland took the lead on 10 minutes after a right-wing cross was not dealt with by Gabby George and Mead rolled the ball home from 12 yards.
However, Everton equalised within three minutes with a well worked goal. Simone Magill broke down the down the left wing and picked out Hollinshead at the back post who volleyed home.
But just two minutes later Sunderland were back in front as Roche turned Brooke Chaplen’s cross back into the path of Mead who finished from five years.
And on the half hour mark Sunderland added a third as firstly a mis-kick and then a defender slipping allowed Kelly to pick up the ball in the penalty area and fire into the top right hand corner.
But the scoring continued after the break as Roche and Kelly goals sandwiched one in reply from the visiting Hinnigan who tapped home from close range.