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Sunderland 2 (Gutteridge 8,65) Leeds Utd 1 (Huegett pen 90)
at the Sixfields Stadium, Northampton Town FC
Natalie Gutteridge scored both goals as Sunderland completed the Premier League and League Cup 'double' with a well earned 2-1 victory over Leeds Utd at the Sixfields Stadium.
An enterprising start by Sunderland was rewarded in the eighth minute after Sophie Williams made a strong run down the left and crossed beyond the far post for Beth Mead, who returned the ball back across goal for an unmarked Gutteridge to plant a header past Julianna Draycott for the opening goal.
Williams shot straight at Draycott with her weaker right foot after cutting in from the left but Leeds gradually began to settle down and it took a good catch from Rachael Laws under pressure to deny a threatening Leah Galton cross.
Kelly McDougall drew a save from Draycott following a good run down the right from Mead and the young striker had a shot charged down by Fake Birkby after controlling Rachel Furness' chipped pass following a corner.
Mead was in blistering form down the right and earned Sunderland a glorious chance for a second on the half hour as she sped into the area before being brought down by Stacey Emmonds for a penalty. McDougall stepped up to take the kick but Draycott dived full length to her left to palm the ball around the post for a corner for a fine save.
Leeds' best moments were coming from the pacey Galton and following a good passing move, Clare Sykes released her on the left to send in a good cross but Carey Huegett could not direct her header on target under pressure from Gemma Wilson.
Galton fired a 25-yard shot just over the bar after cutting in from the left and at the other end, Furness headed over at the far post from a Williams corner but Sunderland fully deserved their lead at the interval.
Sunderland were forced to make a change early in the second half when full back Abby Holmes could not carry on from a first half injury and she was replaced by Becky Salicki.
A Leeds corner was half cleared as far as Tanya Rich who did well to work herself some space before her shot was saved by Laws. Leeds then had an even better opportunity as Galton's cross picked out Rich at the far post, however she tried to set up Huegett instead of shooting herself and the defence was able to clear. Sunderland then went straight on the counter attack with Williams making a powerful surge down the left before her low cross was held at the near post by Laws.
However Williams was to make another telling contribution on 65 minutes when, after being found by a superb pass from Furness, she sent in another pinpoint cross from the left for Gutteridge to plant a firm downward header into the corner of the net for her second goal.
Leeds almost hit back straight away when Huegett cleverly flicked the ball over Wilson's head but Laws was swiftly off her line to make a smothering save. However the second goal had clearly disheartened Leeds and Sunderland, well marshalled in midfield by captain McDougall alongside Furness and Rachel Lee, were able to keep them at bay.
Williams, who had been a thorn in Leeds' side all game, almost latched onto an Amy Turner back pass for a third goal but Draycott was smartly off her line to save at her feet. Then Leeds were given a lifeline in injury time as Furness was penalised for handball in the area and Huegett duly found the corner of the net from the resulting penalty.
There was no further time for Leeds to salvage the game though and Sunderland ran down the clock to complete a memorable season for their club.
Sunderland: Rachael Laws, Abby Holmes (sub Becky Salicki 47mins), Vicki Greenwell, Rachel Furness, Gemma Wilson, Rachel Lee, Nicola Devine, Kelly McDougall, Beth Mead (sub Keira Ramshaw 72mins), Natalie Gutteridge, Sophie Williams. Subs not used: Sarah McFadden, Robyn Chidester, Jordan Atkinson.
Leeds Utd: Julianna Draycott, Amy Turner, Stacey Emmonds (sub Emma Johnson 50mins), Hayley Sharp, Faye Kirkby (sub Emma Lipman 50mins), Vanessa Holmes, Jess Holbrook, Clare Sykes, Carey Huegett, Tanya Rich (sub Sarah Danby 67mins), Leah Galton. Subs: Emma Coates, Rebekah Bass.
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