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Sunderland 5 (Mead 12,16, Kelly 31,56, Roche 47) Everton 2 (Hollinshead 14, Hinnigan 48)
Sunderland made it a half dozen successive wins with a comprehensive victory over Everton at Hetton.
Beth Mead scored twice either side of Emily Hollinshead's equaliser, while Emma Kelly plundered the first of two excellent goals to make it 3-1 at the break. Stephanie Roche's first goal in red and white was quickly met by a reply from Michelle Hinnigan, but Sunderland's dominance deserved the three-goal lead restored by another super finish from Kelly. All seven goals were scored inside the first 51 minutes as Sunderland made it two wins out of two in the Continental Cup.
Carlton Fairweather's side went into the game looking to extend a scintillating run of form which had seen them score 11 goals in their previous five games. They did not disappoint a crowd braving heavy rain and unseasonably unfavourable temperatures.
The Lady Black Cats' Continental Cup campaign kicked off with a late 2-1 win over local rivals Durham, and the WSL 1 league leaders began their latest test in suitably positive fashion. Just five minutes had elapsed when some free flowing football resulted in a neat pull back finding Keira Ramshaw in the box, and the winger's low drive was well held by Kirstie Levell in the Everton goal.
The visitors - mid-table in WSL 2 - fought back with some similarly enterprising play and Danielle Turner's cross was inches away from finding Simone Magill, who would have been left with a simple finish inside the six yard box.
Everton were to rue that chance as ruthless Sunderland stormed into the lead with 11 minutes played. Ramshaw's excellent cross from the right caught out the visiting defence and the predatory Mead was there to roll home her 12th goal of a remarkable season.
The lead lasted four minutes - Sunderland keeper Hilde Gunn Olsen beaten by a powerful close range header from Hollinshead. But a topsy-turvy opening half swung back the other way moments later. Mead missed Ramshaw's initial cross by inches but made no mistake when Roche crossed the ball back in from the other side, tucking a shot under Levell from the edge of the six yard box.
Mead almost had a hat-trick by the half hour but was denied by brave goalkeeping from Levell, who raced out to win a 50-50 challenge after Victoria Williams picked out her colleague with a raking crossfield ball. Sunderland's leading scorer was proving difficult to handle, finding plenty of space behind the Everton defence as she nudged an angled drive wide of the far post with pressure beginning to build.
The visitors were undoubtedly under the cosh and Sunderland extended their lead on 31 minutes thanks to a crashing drive from Kelly into the roof of the net from 14 yards, leaving the keeper with no chance.
Boasting a strong half time advantage, Fairweather's side continued where they left off and assumed a three-goal advantage just two minutes into the second half. Roche will remember her first goal for the club for a long time - a fine rising drive from the left hand angle of the penalty area which arrowed over the goalkeeper.
Hinnigan pulled one back for Everton just a minute later, poking home from close range, before Kelly capped a mad first six minutes of the second period by curling a precise shot past Levell and into the far corner from 20 yards.
Mead almost made it six when she slalomed past two defenders on the edge of the box, but the eventual shot flashed just wide of the far post.
Sunderland's stranglehold on the game was unassailable, with the 55th minute introduction of Kelly McDougall and Rachel Furness off the bench for Mead and Brooke Chaplen providing a burst of extra energy.
A 63rd minute effort from Roche - well saved down low by Levell - bore all the hallmarks of a player bursting with confidence, while defender Gemma Wilson rose well to angle a header wide from Vicki Greenwell's deep cross.
Sunderland closed the game out professionally to seal another win, with Ramshaw denied one-on-one by Levell late on with the hosts already comfortably on their way to victory.
Sunderland: Hilde Gunn Olsen, Victoria Williams, Gemma Wilson, Stephanie Bannon, Victoria Greenwell, Keira Ramshaw, Emma Kelly, Sarah McFadden, Brooke Chaplen (sub Kelly McDougall 55mins), Beth Mead (sub Rachel Furness 55mins), Stephanie Roche. Subs not used: Abby Holmes, Rachael Laws, Hayley Sharp.
Everton: Kirstie Levell, Danielle Lea, Paige Williams, Lyndsay Johnson, Gabby George, Kelly Jones, Michelle Hinnigan, Emily Hollinshead (sub Claudia Walker 65mins), Megan Finnigan (sub Millie Turner 65mins), Danielle Turner, Simone Magill. Subs not used: Megan Walsh, Vicky Jones, Ellie Stewart, Jess King, Chantelle Boye-Hikorah.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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