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Sunderland 2 (Holmes 7, Ramshaw 75) Yeovil Town 0
Sunderland's FA WSL2 title challenge continued with a solid victory over Yeovil Town at the Hetton Centre.
Although the home side started the game eight points ahead of their opponents, it was clear from the off that Yeovil weren't going to roll over easily. Both teams started the match at a high tempo, but it was the Lady Black Cats who had the first attempt after five minutes through Rachel Furness. The Northern Ireland international struck a low shot well, but Yeovil keeper Rachel Simkin was able to save it convincingly.
Two minutes later the deadlock was broken when defender Abby Holmes broke forward to produce a superb left footed shot, which curled around the sprawling Yeovil keeper.
Despite going a goal down early on, the Glovers continued to press but were unable to make the most of their possession, wasting two free kicks in dangerous positions. Sunderland soaked up the pressure with some excellent defending from Hayley Sharp, winning every high ball and aerial challenge.
Sunderland started to take control of the game, with the midfielders enjoying spells of possession, and when a Kelly McDougall delivery found Furness in the area, it looked like she was on for a goal, but her header fell wide.
Goalscorer Holmes was called in to action on the 28th minute, blocking a low shot which could have troubled Rachael Laws, if the defender hadn't got her body in the way.
Down the other end, Furness played Beth Mead through for a one on one but keeper Simkin came out fast and saved the low shot.
Yeovil came close just before the half time whistle but forward Katie Cook was unable to control a through ball, before Laws rushed off her line ensuring that the home side went in at the break with the lead.
Sunderland started the second half the better team with two great chances more or less from the kick off. A hard, driven shot from captain McDougall went just wide of the post before a header from the lively Mead troubled Simkin, who unconvincingly tipped it away.
On the hour, a stunning, long range strike from Rebekah Bass looked like it was sailing into the top corner but Simkin managed to touch the ball on to the bar, with the effort then bouncing on the goal line before being cleared.
The red and whites continued to look for their second goal of the match and in the 63rd minute Holmes picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty box, but this time her left footed effort curled away from the goal. Four minutes later, Furness rose above everyone to latch on to an inswinging McDougall corner but her header fell the wrong side of the post.
The game was wide open with both teams continuing to have chances, but in the 75th minute Yeovil failed to deal with a McDougall corner and Keira Ramshaw poked the ball into the back of the net.
Bass looked like she might close off the game when she broke down the left but her low cross could only find the hands of Simkin.
With Sunderland still pushing for more goals, Yeovil's day went from bad to worse when Emma Brazell, on for just 14 minutes, picked up her second yellow card of the match.
The game ended with good chances for the away side but Laws was determined to keep a clean sheet and ensure that her side took all three points.
Sunderland: Rachael Laws, Abby Holmes, Victoria Greenwell, Rachel Furness, Hayley Sharp, Gemma Wilson, Keira Ramshaw, Kelly McDougall, Beth Mead (sub Brogan McHugh 83mins), Emma Kelly (sub Lauren Briggs 80mins), Rebekah Bass.
Yeovil Town: Rachel Simkin, Helen Bleazard, Jade Kirby, Paige Stewart, Rachel Edwards, Natalie Haigh, Jemma Tewkesbury (sub Laura Bray 69mins), Jade Lorton-Radburn, Katie Cook, Ellie Curson, Stacey Pearson (sub Emma Brazell 69mins).
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
Photos by Susan Gutteridge:
(top) Abby Holmes takes on Jade Kirby
(middle) Keira Ramshaw (7) turns home the second goal for Sunderland
(bottom) Sunderland celebrate Keira Ramshaw's goal
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