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Match Preview: Sunderland Ladies take on Blackburn at the Stadium of Light today!

Sunderland Ladies take centre stage at the Stadium of Light this weekend, with Mel Reay’s side buoyant after last week’s opening day win. We’ve got all the info you need ahead of this afternoon’s big match.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

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Sunday 5th September 2021

Sunderland AFC Ladies vs Blackburn Rovers LFC

FA Women’s Championship

The Stadium of Light, Sunderland

Kick-Off: 14:00


Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: £5 for adults, £2.50 for Under 16s and Over 65s available here.

Stream: Full match replay and highlights will be available here from Monday

Podcast: Roker Report’s Lasses Podcast Live will be broadcast live on Twitter Spaces from 8-9pm BST on Monday. Just go to @RokerReport to listen in.


The build-up...

Grace McCatty and Keira Ramshaw are the backbone of the Sunderland side
Photo by Chris Fryatt

Captain Keira Ramshaw sustained an injury just before half-time in the win over Coventry United last weekend, an incident that also saw the United keeper lose a tooth and be substituted. The club announced in their match preview this morning that Keys has not recovered in time to start the game today. It must be a huge disappointment for her as it would take a lot for her to miss the chance to play in front of our fans at the Stadium of Light!

Mel Reay, writing in today’s matchday programme (that you can read in full at the top of this page), welcomed the fans to the first home game of the season

We feel that as a collective unit that we’re looking much stronger heading into this season. We have a great setup, a good mix of youth and experience in our squad of 18 for which we’ve recruited well, and it’s fantastic to have [Assistant] Steph Libbey back alongside me.

We want to make our home record strong this season as we aim for a solid season back at Championship level, and your support could not be more appreciated by all of us here.

In a great interview with the Sunderland Echo’s Phil Smith on Saturday, summer recruit Charlotte Potts spoke of her excitement about playing at the Stadium of Light and the general buzz around the women’s game right now:

It’s such a shock when you see how many young girls there are playing football now, even in two or three years it has spiked massively.

It feels like a really exciting time for the game in the north east and that was one of the main reasons why I was so passionate in wanting to come back. The young girls in the north east deserve a team in the Super League, and a full-time platform for their ambitions, their goals and their careers.

It’s very, very exciting [to be back at the Stadium]. We haven’t had our fans for a long time and my family haven’t been able to see me on the pitch in person since that game against Stoke.

I remember when we played a couple of years ago against Newcastle, my adrenaline even a few days before was through the roof. This time I feel nice and relaxed, staying nice and cool, and really looking forward to it.

Pottsy is happy to be back
Photo by Chris Fryatt

Gemma Donnelly is Rovers’ manager, now in her 16th year at the club and in her seventh campaign in the top job, so brings a wealth of experience into this season’s FA Women’s Championship.

Blackburn player Jade Richards told her club’s website how she was looking forward to playing on the biggest stage available in the FA Women’s Championship, especially after they won their opening game against Sheffield United last week.

We’re really excited for Sunday’s match. After last Sunday’s result we were all buzzing with confidence so we’re all looking forward to be playing again.

It will be a new challenge for the side but everyone’s up for it and if we play our game, I can’t see why we can’t get another good result.

Playing in nice and big stadiums add to the game. It’ll be a decent pitch and a new environment for us as well so we’re looking forward to being able to play them there.

Richards was confident that the team that finished third bottom of the league last year, with a terrible run of form towards the end of their campaign, will be able to keep Sunderland at bay:

I think in most people’s eyes on social media we are the underdogs this season, so I think we showed people on Sunday what we are capable of doing.

But we’re taking it one game at a time and at the end of the day it’s all about whoever turns up on the day, puts in the performance and ultimately wants it more.

Clean sheets help and get you at least a point from a game so of course they’re one of our aims this season. If we can keep them and then go on to score a goal or two, we’ll be pretty happy.

Looking back on Sunday we were under pressure a lot during the first-half, but we rode it out and in the second-half we were able to play the way wanted to and got out reward.”

The Blackburn Rovers Website has great profiles of all their players and staff - you can check it out here.

Blackburn Ladies v Sheffield United Women - Barclays FA Women’s Championship
Ellie Leek of Blackburn Rovers runs with the ball during the Barclays FA Women’s Championship match between Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield United at Sir Tom Finney Stadium on August 29, 2021 in Bamber Bridge, England.
Photo by Charlotte Tattersall - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

League form...

Sunderland AFC Ladies - W

Sunderland won away from home 1-0 last weekend at Coventry United LFC, with Jess Brown bagging the goal.

Blackburn Rovers - W

It was a winning start for Rovers, with a 2-0 home victory over Sheffield United, so both sides are looking to make it two out of two today.


Head to head...

(In all competitions - home & away)

Sunderland wins: 2

Draws: 0

Blackburn Rovers wins: 4

Sunderland goals: 5

Blackburn Rovers goals: 14


Last Time We Met in Sunderland...

17th March 2019

FA Women’s National League North

Sunderland Ladies 3-0 Blackburn Rovers LFC

(Farrugia ‘13, McLaughlin ‘21, Ramshaw ‘25)


Played for both...

Ellie Stewart

An “absolute class player”, in the words of Roker Report’s Katie Hume, who retired a couple of seasons ago, but now she’s playing in tier four for Liverpool Feds, the defender had a short but action-packed career in the top leagues with Liverpool, Everton, and finally Blackburn, as well as a stint at Sunderland in 2017/18.

An England age-group international, she’s fondly remembered by fans of both of today’s teams.

Women’s U19 International: England v Republic of Ireland
Ellie Stewart of England controls the ball during the U-19 friendly match between England and Republic of Ireland at La Manga Club on March 8, 2014 in La Manga, Spain.
Photo by Fotopress/Getty Images

FEATURES!

Classic clashes: Sunderland v Bolton Wanderers

MATCH PREVIEWS!

Starting XI: Is this the Sunderland side that will take on Bolton this afternoon?

MATCH PREVIEWS!

Score Predictions: Will Sunderland make it five straight wins at the Stadium of Light?