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Women's Football News
Natalie Gutteridge was understandably delighted after her two goals helped Sunderland to a 2-1 victory over Leeds Utd in the Premier League Cup Final, which earned her side the League and Cup 'double'.
"It's been a fantastic season and we've worked hard for it all year," the striker admitted to Women's Soccer Scene after the game, "but we're really pleased with how its gone.
"We've played Leeds three times this year and all three games have had one goal in them, so we knew it was going to be close - but we've done really well to manage to just win it in the end."
Natalie got Sunderland off to the perfect start when she headed them into an eighth minute lead. "It seemed ages when the ball came across until it finally hit the net," she smiled, "but it was brilliant to get on the scoresheet.
"We got the goal early and hoped to go on and get some more but we still went in [at half time] one nil up and had something to hold on to."
Midway throught the second half, Natalie scored what proved to be a decisive second from a superb cross by Sophie Williams and she paid tribute to the winger's contribution. "Sophie's been doing it all season to be fair, she's got great pace down the wing - I'd love to have a little bit of it. She whipped it in and it was right on my head and I managed to get it in.
"I think it settled our nerves a little bit when we scored the second goal but they got a penalty late on. There was only a minute left afterwards and we knew had to keep hold of the ball in the corner and keep it away from our goal and we knew we would hang on in the end."
Sophie Williams had an outstanding game on the left wing for the Wearsiders and she revealed afterwards that she had been given a licence to attack by manager Mick Mulhern. "I was getting a lot of joy going down the left wing," she said. "Mick said to me before the game 'express yourself', so I tried to do that - I set up a goal and I'm happy about that."
The 21-year-old was pleased with her contribution for the second goal and returned the compliments from her centre forward. "I've been doing that all season and it's always good to have someone like Natalie who can get her head onto crosses and win it every time - you've got to have people like that in the team who can win things for you and Natalie has been brilliant all season."
Sophie herself almost added a third late on but was denied by a good save from Julianna Draycott. "It's a bit of a blur to be honest," she said. "I was feeling absolutely shattered but I thought if I could get there first, there was a chance I could get brought down or the ball would end up in the net and I got my foot there but she made a great save."
After winning three medals in two seasons, Sophie left no doubts as to her team's incentive for the future. "I want to go out and do it again next season and as much as possible," she replied. "That's what you want in football - medals, cup finals, great days out. Sunderland is like a family and I'm proud to be a part of it and I hope it goes on for as long as possible."
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