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

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Lasses Match Preview: Liverpool come to town tonight in big test for Sunderland Ladies!

Why not make it a footy double header? Sunderland Ladies face top-of-the-table Liverpool under the lights at Eppleton CW on Saturday. All the info you need is here!

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

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Saturday 20th November 2021

Sunderland AFC Ladies v Liverpool FC Women

FA Women’s Championship

Eppleton CW Ground, Welfare Rd, Hetton-le-Hole, Houghton le Spring DH5 9NA

Kick-Off: 19:00


Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Adults £5, Concessions £2.50 - available to book in advance here, with card payments accepted on the gate.

Live Coverage: There's no live stream, and no radio commentary, but if you can’t make the game you can follow along on @SAFCLadies on Twitter and get updates on the performance, incidents and atmosphere at @RokerReport.

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

Podcast: Roker Report’s Lasses Podcast Live will be broadcast live on Twitter Spaces at a slightly later time of 8.30-9.30pm BST on Monday. Just go to @RokerReport to listen in.


The Build-up...

Let’s not kid ourselves - Sunderland face a mighty task to keep this Liverpool side from heading back down the A1 with their second set of three points in under a week. They showed themselves to be the Championship’s best footballing side in a comfortable and confident win against Durham, so can we overturn the odds? An evening kick off under the floodlights in front of a passionate crowd in the north east, after Liverpool have played in the Conti Cup whilst Sunderland have had a rest and time to prepare on the training pitch... all these factors will count in our favour, and the law of averages says that Liverpool’s flawless away record must end soon. Yet the stats, as you can read below, point in only one direction...

The club has been boosted by a series of player sponsorships provided by local Supporters Branches, as well as a significant improvement in communications and practical arrangements to allow fans to access Eppleton CW Ground by paying on the gate this evening.

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

On Thursday came the news that the Red & White Army Supporters Trust members overwhelmingly supported the creation of a new Sunderland Ladies Supporters Group with its own democratic structures, which will hopefully ensure that there is clear consultation with the loyal Lasses fans in future, we can all work together to create a better fan experience at Eppleton, and we can also organise our away following too.

The club’s preview of the match informs us that both midfield dynamo Abbey Joice and Maltese international Maria Farrugia is available once again, which will be a massive boost for Mel Reay as she prepares for this challenge. There was no pre-match press conference again this week, but the gaffer did give her thoughts in the programme, which you can read in full below:

The girls were in good spirits [in training] on Tuesday wanting to get back on the pitch and put right what didn’t go well on Sunday in terms of in front of goal, so we had a good session and were ready to go again.

Liverpool will be tough, but I think you’ve got to go into every game to try and win. They’ve had a fantastic run of form and they’re at the top of the league for a reason. We have to be well-disciplined and keep the ball when we have it and making sure to do good things with it and put on a good show.

Liverpool goalkeeper and former promotion-winning Black Cat, Rachel Laws, speaking on Roker Report’s Lasses Podcast Live this week, was focused on getting the win whilst looking forward to returning to her old stomping ground and catching up with old friends.

Going back will be weird, it will be the first time I’ve not been in the home dressing room. Going there as a Liverpool player and the place we’re in at the minute is really good, but we’re keeping our feet firmly on the ground and we’re not even half way through the season yet and a lot could change, even before Christmas.

But it was a good performance on Sunday and we’re going into that game in a really good place but we’ve got a mid week game to contend with first, and there will be rotations to give people minutes and bring them up to stratch, but to return there and come up against some of my really good friends and with family and friends watching as they were at the weekend at Durham, it’s nice.

It’s nice to come home and see people and have a chat after the game, and get together with people who you were once teammates with. And Sunderland are back where they belong in the Championship, but come Saturday I’ve a Liverpool player and I’ll be wanting them three points.

WSL 1: Arsenal Ladies FC v Sunderland AFC Ladies Photo by Alan Walter - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

The Stats...

The head-to-head stats on FootyStats.org come down pretty clearly and potentially ominously on the side of the visitors from Merseyside.

Sunderland AFC’s home stats point towards our general lack of chance creation, with an xG of only 1.1 and even poorer conversion rate, scoring on average only 0.75 goals per game and failing to register in half our matches at the Stadium of Light and Eppleton so far this Championship season. Our expected goals against at home is 1.14, but we actually concede 1.25 goals per game, keeping clean sheets in only 25% of home games.

Liverpool’s perfect away record has resulted in an xG of 1.94, but their goals per game of 2.25 suggests they’re clinical in front of goal and can score from unexpected areas. They’re pretty mean at the back too, conceding an average of 0.5 goals per game with an xGA 0.78, which is testament to the form of keeper Rachel Laws. In the Championship this season they’ve had clean sheets 75% away from home, and have managed to score in 100% games on their travels.


League Form

(Last 5 FA Women’s Championship Fixtures)

Sunderland AFC Ladies - LLWLD

Sunderland’s draw at Watford takes them 10 points clear of the relegation-threatened Coventry United, but with only one win in the last 5 matches, and no victories yet at Eppleton this season, their home form really needs to improve.

Liverpool FC Women - WWWDW

Liverpool’s form overall is fantastic, and that’s why they’re top of the table after nine games. Away from home they have a 100% win record, so this is a formidable side that is clearly focused on regaining what they see as their rightful place back in the WSL.


Head to head...

(All venues, all competitions, including friendlies)

Played - 11

Sunderland Wins - 2

Draws - 2

Liverpool Wins - 7

Sunderland Goals - 9

Liverpool Goals - 30


Last Time We Played at Eppleton...

FA Women’s National League Cup - Tuesday 5th December 2017

Sunderland 1-0 Liverpool

Bridget Galloway 13’


One to Watch... Taylor Hinds

Those of us who watched Liverpool’s lunchtime win at Maiden Castle against Durham last Sunday were mightily impressed with left wingback, Taylor Hinds, who scored the winning goal with a well placed header at the back post. Graeme Field asked Rachel Laws all about her on our Lasses Podcast Live on Monday night, and she was full of praise for the 22 year old former Arsenal and Everton player.

Taylor’s great, I think I actually said to her last season, if we had to vote for a player’s player of the year she would be mine, she was the most consistent throughout, she goes about her job really quietly – she keeps her head down, she works hard – but first and foremost she defends, but she pops up in these moments when we need her the most and I’d probably put it out there and say that she’s probably been the most consistent this season, and that’s credit to her. Hopefully she continues to pop up with a few goals for us and we continue to keep clean sheets at the other end with her in the back five.

Durham Women v Liverpool - FA Women’s Championship Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Andy’s Player Ratings: Cambridge United 1-2 Sunderland - Massive three points for Johnson’s men!

FEATURES!

On This Day (27 Nov 1949): Happy Birthday to former Sunderland star Dennis Tueart - 72 today!

MATCH PREVIEWS!

Score Predictions: Can Sunderland go one better than they did in midweek?