Women’s football: Demi Stokes’s a hat-trick hero for Sunderland

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SUNDERLAND Women maintained their position at the top of the National Premier League, twice coming from behind to beat Millwall 3-2 at Eppleton CW yesterday.

And the home side were thankful for a five-star performance from player of the match Demi Stokes, with a hat-trick.

Millwall took the lead in the fourth minute when a free kick was awarded on the edge of the Sunderland box. Emma Beckett stepped up to drive a powerful shot into the top corner.

The Lady Black Cats drew level in the 57th minute following some fine play between Ramshaw and McDougall.

The ball found its way to Stokes, who confidently closed in on goal to stroke the ball into the bottom corner.

The game exploded into life in a frantic last 10 minutes.

In the 82nd minute Kate Longhurst capitalised on a defensive slip to go clear and score.

But barely a minute later, following a strong forward run by Abby Holmes, Stokes again picked the ball up and went on to score her second.

Just when it seemed it would end honours-even, a flowing Sunderland move saw Ramshaw play in McDougall, who rounded a defender and drew the keeper before unselfishly squaring for Stokes to give the Wearsiders the points in the 89th minute.

Sunderland: Alderson, Holmes, Bannon, Wilson, Greenwell, Stokes, McDougall, Vaughan, Williams, Ramshaw, McFadden(Young). Subs (not used): Laws, Christon, Salicki, Furness.