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Sunderland 2 (Mead pen 23, McDougall ) Liverpool 2 (Dowie 28, White 68)
Sunderland secured a last gasp point against Liverpool thanks to Kelly McDougall's 88th minute strike.
In a frantic and full-blooded clash, Beth Mead put the Lady Black Cats ahead from the penalty spot after being brought down by Becky Easton before Natasha Dowie equalised with a stunning 30-yard lob. The visitors took the lead in the second period when Rosie White slotted over Hilde Gunn Olsen when through one-on-one. But the last word went to Sunderland, with McDougall scoring the goal which keeps them top of the table until Sunday at least.
The first half started at a furious pace though clear cut chances were in short supply with both goalkeepers making just one routine save each before the breakthrough.
It came following an end to end passage of play which first saw Maz Pacheco stick out a leg to deny Mead at the last minute before Hilde Gunn Olsen had to be brave at the feet of Dowie just a few seconds later. The resulting clearance saw Abby Holmes find Mead over the top, she knocked it past Pacheco this time before being caught by a mistimed challenge from Becky Easton.
The striker dusted herself down to slot it into the bottom corner, Liverpool keeper Libby Stout going the right way but the finish was just too accurate.
Dowie should have levelled the game shortly afterwards when she met Martha Harris's cross at the front post, only to prod it wide from three yards.
Dowie made no mistake two minutes later, as she broke free down the Sunderland left, she spotted Olsen off her line, looping a stunning shot over the Norwegian from 30 yards.
The second0 period continued in the same fashion, the game littered with fouls and yellow cards. White should have scored shortly after the restart when she put the ball over an empty goal from six yards, following Ashley Hodson's cross.
Mead was next to force a chance on 53 minutes when she cut inside to fire a rising drive inches over the bar, before curling just wide again a few minutes later.
There was confusion surrounding White's goal however; at the other end, Stout seemed to collect a back pass which the referee stopped play for. After consulting with his linesman, he awarded a drop ball, deciding the ball had taken a touch off a Sunderland boot on its way. Stout picked up the drop ball, which was flicked on into the path of White who finished superbly over the top of Olsen.
With the clock ticking down, lifelong Evertonian McDougall got her first of the season. Mead's hard work found Holmes down the inside, the full back cutting back from the goal line to the feet of McDougall who slotted under Stout from six yards.
The drama wasn't over as Lucy Staniforth's dipping free kick hit the post from 40 yards in stoppage time, looping to the unmarked Katrin Omarsdottir who prodded over an empty net at the back post.
The result puts Sunderland a point clear at the top though with Arsenal and Chelsea due to play their respective games on Sunday, they could overtake them.
Sunderland: Hilde Gunn Olsen, Abby Holmes, Stephanie Bannon, Victoria Williams, Victoria Greenwell, Keira Ramshaw (sub Emma Kelly 72mins), Rachel Furness, Kelly McDougall, Brooke Chaplen, Stephanie Roche (sub Abbey Joice 64mins), Beth Mead. Subs not used: Rachael Laws, Gemma Wilson, Sarah McFadden.
Liverpool: Libby Stout, Martha Harris, Gemma Bonner, Becky Easton, Maz Pacheco (sub Corina Schroder 73mins), Katrin Omarsdottir, Lucy Staniforth, Ashley Hodson (sub Line Smorsgard 62mins), Kate Longhurst, Rosie White, Natasha Dowie. Subs not used: Rachel Darbyshire, Ingrid Ryland, Hannah Dale, Katie Zelem, Mollie Green.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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