It was like Groundhog Day for Sunderland Women at Eppleton on Sunday as they again lost despite controlling much of the play. After a week of heavy rain, the pitch was in surprisingly good nick and the sun was out, yet the newly upgraded floodlights were still turned on for an 11.30 am kick off.
Mel Reay chopped and changed the side again with Jess Brown and Grace Ede chosen to partner Emily Scarr up top whilst regular first-choice defenders Louise Griffiths and Grace McCatty sat out, replaced by Megan Beer and Abbey Joice with Neve Herron filling in at centre half.
Both sides were very shaky in the opening stages with Lewes nearly scoring after Joice and Bri Westrup taking each other out but the shot went wide. Sunderland huffed and puffed but Lewes house stood firm with neither keeper really tested before half time.
Jess Brown had our best chance of the first half with a shot that was saved and Grace Ede nearly put us ahead, but Lewes defence was proving difficult to breach.
The second half continued in the same fashion but Sunderland’s final ball was again poor bar a couple of lovely balls into the box from Ede who shone on her return to the side.
Sunderland seemed to run out of gas somewhat, but you still felt a goal would come our way. Emily Scarr nearly bagged the Puskas award after attempting to lob the keeper from thirty yards but such as Sunderland’s luck is at the moment, it went agonisingly over the bar.
The triple sub finally arrived late in the game with Tyler Dodds, Holly Manders and Nicki Gears came on but, rather predictably, Lewes went and scored after we switched off and allowed them the easiest of goals from yet another set piece.
That was enough to see us fall to another defeat and another week when we haven’t troubled the scoring stats. You feel that the run of the ball is not with us at the moment, but we also need to be better in both boxes - a fact that Mel Reay acknowledged after the game.
Next up is a totally unwanted trip to Man City in the Conti cup and then it’s a massive game away to Coventry United, who got thrashed again today at home to Durham. We simply must win that game.