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Bristol Academy 1 (Boho-Sayo 38) Sunderland 4 (Mead 21,83, Bannon 49, Kelly 80)
Sunderland powered to the top of WSL 1 for the first time in their history after three second half goals carried them to victory at Stoke Gifford.
Beth Mead netted two more as the England hopeful continued her unstoppable form in front of goal but for Bristol Academy, the worrying run goes on and they remain at the foot of the table.
The first opportunity went the way of the home side with Caroline Weir firing a free kick inches wide but Sunderland began to assume control of matters with Kelly McDougall and Rachel Furness taking over the midfield area and Stephanie Roche showing some neat touches.
Mead was showing some great hold up play as a lone striker and she was to give her side the lead midway through the first half. After Roche had won the ball from Loren Dykes on the halfway line, she curled a neat pass into the path of Mead who gave Mary Earps no chance with an emphatic first time finish.
Academy tried to respond with Christie Murray having a shot blocked from Nadia Lawrence's low cross and Weir's chipped pass picking out Jade Boho-Sayo who missed her kick from a tight angle.
However Sunderland continued to look dangerous going forward and Mead powered her way into the area after being released by Furness but Earps came to the rescue with a vital smothering save.
As half time approached though, Academy grabbed the lifeline they needed when a miscued clearance from Hilde Olsen was intercepted by Ingle who returned the ball into the area for Boho-Sayo to bury her shot from fifteen yards for the equaliser.
Mead shot over the bar at the other end but the teams went into the interval on level terms.
Four minutes into the second half, Sunderland were back in front. A Brooke Chaplen corner picked out an unmarked Mead beyond the far post and after her shot was blocked on the line by Frankie Brown, Roche's follow up was saved by Earps but Steph Bannon was on hand to stab the ball home from six yards.
Academy had a good chance to restore parity two minutes later when Ingle headed wide from a Weir corner and they were to go even closer with a counter attack after Sunderland lost possession on the edge of the Academy area. Lawrence fed Murray on the right and the striker carried the ball towards goal before unleashing a shot which crashed against the bar. Boho-Sayo picked up the rebound and laid the ball back for Ingle whose strike was tipped over by Olsen.
The home side made a triple substitution to try and gain extra impetus but it was Sunderland who were to strike a huge blow with ten minutes remaining. Abby Holmes curled in a delightful cross from which Emma Kelly managed to beat Earps to the ball and, despite the efforts of Angharad James, slotted the ball into the empty net to double her side's advantage.
Before Academy could recover, Furness clipped a great pass over the defence and Kelly ran clear on goal, this time the striker unselfishly squaring the ball for Mead to clinically tuck home her second goal on the night and send her side heading for the top of the league.
Bristol Academy: Mary Earps, Frankie Brown (sub Angharad James 68mins), Loren Dykes (sub Lauren Townsend 68mins), Hayley Ladd, Marije Brummel, Caroline Weir, Nadia Lawrence (sub Tatiana Pinto 68mins), Sophie Ingle, Christie Murray, Georgia Evans, Jade Boho-Sayo. Subs not used: Evdokia Popadinova, Sharla Passariello, Hannah Reid, Hannah Short.
Sunderland: Hilde Olsen, Abby Holmes, Victoria Greenwell, Rachel Furness, Steph Bannon, Victoria Williams, Keira Ramshaw, Kelly McDougall (sub Sarah McFadden 66mins), Beth Mead (sub Gemma Wilson 90mins), Stephanie Roche (sub Emma Kelly 62mins), Brooke Chaplen. Subs not used: Hayley Sharp, Abbey Joice, Rachael Laws.
(top) Kelly McDougall clears under pressure from Christie Murray
(middle) Beth Mead takes on Hayley Ladd
(bottom) Emma Kelly scores Sunderland's third goal
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