Amelia Laybourne says...
After the incredibly strong performance against Crystal Palace, I think I can speak for every Sunderland Women fan when I say that a new bout of confidence has been instilled within me.
Despite the start of the season being tough, with little euphoria bursting from Eppleton, the fans and players alike both pushed on – and, upwards we slowly went – gaining pace and confidence with each outing on the pitch – whether that was in the league, or cup.
And, although it was long overdue in many respects, an exultant win finally came with a 2-0 victory over a once-hailed ‘powerhouse’ of a side, Crystal Palace.
The displays of talent on the pitch during our trip to London last week were incredible – with the midfield playing a pivotal role in ensuring our back 5 were protected, and ultimately tested on few occasions. The play was undoubtedly centred far in front of the defensive line, allowing us to dominate the pitch throughout.
A ‘must mention’ has to be Emily Scarr, who posed a continuous threat with her pace and skill – but, alongside this, the invaluable decisions from manager Mel allowed us to build on our lead. The late(ish) substitutions made, injected a large amount of pace into the game, which, as a result, allowed the visiting side to capitalise and ultimately build on their lead.
So, it is safe to say I am more than confident that the lasses can build on their victory – and, that there will be many more to come. If this excellence can be recreated – and, perhaps even bettered, I am adamant that we will be leaving Eppleton with 3 points – and a bloody big smile on our faces!
Graeme Field says...
We’ll have plenty of confidence going into the game, after last week. Two wins in a row in this league is a difficult task though. Am I confident? Yes, most definitely.
It’s always interesting, too, when ideally you’d like to replicate an outstanding away performance at home, there’s always that feeling that you need to be taking the game to the opposition when you’re at home. That’s often the case but is, for me, dependent on the opposition.
London City Lionesses are second in the table, so we’ll likely look to keep an excellent shape again, out of possession, and then use our pace to cause them problems as much as possible throughout the game, with the ball. They will have seen what we did last week and will be wary not to get caught though.
I also think with us having more experienced and pacy substitutes this season, will obviously again give us more of a threat than we had last season, as Palace found to their cost. We can turn to good quality players to ensure we still have that intensity when we need it late on in games. It will be an intriguing contest, but Mel and the lasses certainly have the talent, hard work, and game plan to get another three points on the board.
Rich Speight says...
I’m going to put a dampener on the confidence being shown by my colleagues this week. Yes, the result last week was a huge boost of morale and the culmination of a steady progression in our performances, but London City Lionesses are not a team to take lightly at all.
They’re extremely well-prepared for every game and have some excellent players across the park. In particular, they are very hard to beat; unlike the traditionally leaky Crystal Palace, “The Pride” have conceded the third-fewest in the league last year when they game a clear second in the league, and this season they’ve only let in four - which is the second-lowest number.
Southampton, Blackburn, Lewes, and Coventry United await us in the Championship before Christmas, with only the newly promoted Saints being full-time - these are the games that will shape our season, today’s match should be seen as something of a free hit.
We are more than capable of upsetting anyone on our day and I wouldn’t be surprised to see us come out of the blocks quickly, but as scoring is traditionally our weakest area and they are so good at the back, I will be delighted if we come out of this fixture with a point.