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London Bees v Brighton and Hove Albion Women - FA Women’s Continental League Cup

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Match Preview: Sunderland Ladies host Durham Women in north east derby

The “Wear Derby”, which kicks off at midday at Eppleton CW, is the hottest ticket in town. We’ve got all the info you need ahead of the weekend’s biggest game!

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

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Sunday 10th October 2021

Sunderland AFC Ladies v Durham WFC

FA Women’s Championship

Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground, Welfare Road, Hetton-le-Hole, Houghton-le-Spring, DH5 9NA

Kick-Off: 12:00

Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: £5 for adults and £2.50 for SOL Season Card holders and other concessions available at Tickets will be available to buy at the ground on the day!

Travel info: Plan your journey by public transport at Traveline North East. More information, including parking details, is available on the SAFC website here.

Radio: Live match commentary will be available online through Durham Women’s partners at Durham Hospital Radio.

Highlights: Highlights and a full match replay are available from Monday on the FA Player.

Podcast: Watch out for a post-match reaction on the Roker Report twitter feed, and Roker Report’s Lasses Podcast Live will be broadcast, as usual, live on Twitter Spaces from 8-9pm BST on Monday. Just go to @RokerReport to listen in.

The our new Roker Reporter, Charlotte Patterson

It’s been fantastic to see, read and listen to all the content that the club have put out in the build-up to this game. As a fanzine, this is exactly what we’ve been calling for and we hope that it sets the tone for a future where the women’s section of SAFC is put on an ever-more equal footing with the men’s - especially when it comes to marketing and promotions. This culminated in the release of the SAFC Unfiltered Podcast on Friday evening, featuring Sunderland defender Grace McCatty

Up until last weekend, Sunderland were the only remaining side in the league which were undefeated. But that feat only lasted so long as the Black Cats lost 2-1 away to Bristol City it what were treacherous conditions, both in terms of the wind and rain, but also the impact this had on the pitch. The Ladies accept that the conditions are not an excuse for the loss and have looked to rectify and learn from the mistakes made last weekend as they head into this fixture.

Sunderland Ladies v Blackburn Rovers - Barclays FA Women’s Championship
Grace McCatty featured on the SAFC Unfiltered Podcast this week
Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The team are looking to maintain consistency and results so far have reflected that. It is important that the Ladies don’t get too carried away in the occasion, as Durham are team which has grown since the two sides last met 4 years ago. Sunderland simply need to play their game and treat this game like it is any other. Sunderland currently have bragging rights over the Wildcats after winning all three previous encounters (albeit one was a draw, but won on penalties).

The likes of Keira Ramshaw, Charlotte Potts and Grace McCatty will be key players for Sunderland on Sunday, both in terms of creating chances and ensuring a strong defence against an attack orientated Durham side.

Mel Reay confirmed in her Friday press conference that we have no new injury concerns ahead of this fixture. Grace Ede, an RTC product and England U17 prospect, signed on this week but is away on international duty until Monday.

From a Durham perspective, this is the biggest game of their season against a local rival that they’ve never beaten. They have been excellent so far this season, with their only loss coming to 3-1 away defeat to Sheffield United. It’s interesting that whilst Durham won 4 of their games and kept some clean sheets in that time, when I have watched them play I have not seen them really take it out of third gear. Which is almost troubling for Sunderland. But it is a testament to Durham that they can still get these results whilst not playing at their best or hitting their peak.

Durham have improved year on year and have added a great talent to their side in the form of ex London City Lionesses striker, Liz Ejupi. But also they have retained a lot of key players, with the likes of Sarah Robson, Beth Hepple, Megan Borthwick and familiar name Bridget Gallaway. Durham are one of the highest scoring sides in the Championship so far this season, so Sunderland will need to keep their attack at bay and not expose themselves out on the wings, as that is where Durham like create opportunities from.

Durham Women v Lewes Women - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Stu Forster - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

That being said, Durham defence has also been stalwart in recent matches, with the club currently on a three game winning streak and have not conceded during that time. They will certainly be looking to extend that run this Sunday.

Lauren Briggs is a player who is not only strong at the back, but also likes to get forward down the wings and become involved in the final third. When she receives the ball, she always has the next step planned out and can be regularly seen trying to get the opposition defence out with a long ball over the top or running at the defence on the wings.

Sunderland-born Beth Hepple has been a force to be reckoned with during her time with Durham. Whilst she may not always get on the scoresheets, she certainly gets involved in attacking opportunities and constantly looks to create or link up with her teammates. She was interviewed for their club YouTube channel this week, and you can watch the whole video below.

League form...

Sunderland AFC Ladies - W - W - D - D - L

After five games back in tier two, the Lasses have a very respectable eight points. Their form has certainly dropped off of late after an exciting start to the campaign, and getting back to winning ways after a couple of under-par performances will be the focus of Mel Reay’s team.

Durham Women - W - L - W - W - W

Durham are clearly one of the strongest and most experienced sides in the FA Women’s Championship, and in their last few games have really started to hit their stride - beating teams against which Sunderland have drawn or lost. A win over Lewes last weekend saw them go to top of the league, and they’re going to be very hard to displace from there for the remainder of the season.

Head to head...

(All venues, all competitions)
  • Played 3
  • Sunderland Wins: 3 (inc. 1 on pens)
  • Durham Wins: 0
  • Sunderland Goals: 5
  • Durham Goals: 0

Last Time we met... at Eppleton CW

4th September 2014, WSL2

Sunderland AFC Ladies 2-0 Durham Women

Beth Mead, Keira Ramshaw

Played for Both... Bridget Galloway

When Sunderland’s Women’s National League North Premier season was curtailed due to covid-19 in the spring of 2020, we lost one of the best players the club has produced in a good while - Gateshead-born Bridget Galloway - to our local rivals Durham.

After breaking into the Lasses side in 2016 when we were still a top WSL outfit, she stuck with Mel Reay as we looked to rebuild in the third tier, almost from scratch, following the demotion of 2018. Galloway was a class above at that level, and scored 45 goals in 72 appearances for Sunderland.

She represented England at Under 19 level and is well-regarded as one of the best players in the FA Women's Championship. Many Sunderland supporters were a little disappointed that we couldn’t persuade her to make the journey back along the A690 this summer, and she will be a real danger when she comes up against her old side for the first time today.

Sunderland Women v Newcastle United Ladies: FA Women’s National League Cup
Forward Bridget Galloway was always dangerous for Sunderland Ladies
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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