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Sunderland v Sheffield United: FA Women’s Championship

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Lasses Match Report: Sunderland lead twice but have to settle for a point against the Blades

Courtney Sweetman-Kirk proved to be Sunderland’s nemesis this afternoon, with the Blades’ striker cancelling out strikes from Abbey Joice and Holly Manders in a 2-2 draw at Eppleton CW.

Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At a bright and breezy Hetton Centre, Sunderland Ladies were looking to turn their strong performance against Birmingham City last week in the FA cup into another solid showing and hopefully league points against Sheffield United Women.

Sunderland started in a confident fashion and took the lead on 10 minutes with a well-worked move finished by the excellent Abbey Joice. Sheffield United had a chance to hit back just one minute later after a Sunderland defender handled the ball in the box.

Sweetman-Kirk stepped up and fired the ball wide. The visitors however were level on 24 minutes. To her credit, the ever-dangerous and hardworking Sweetman-Kirk put her penalty miss behind her when finishing first time from a good cross from Walters. Sheffield United dominated the rest of the first half and the sides went into the break level at 1-1.

Sunderland v Sheffield United: FA Women’s Championship
Abbey Joice scores Sunderland’s first goal during the FA Women’s Championship match between Sunderland and Sheffield United at Eppleton CW, Hetton on Sunday 6th February 2022.
Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The second half started in a scrappy fashion but burst into life after Scarr struck the bar and Manders couldn’t keep her strike down from the rebound. Three minutes later and it was the turn of the visitors to rattle the crossbar, the excellent Sweetman-Kirk in the thick of the action with the strike. Sunderland went in front for the second time in the game with Manders scoring after a good save from Sheffield United keeper Kitching.

The lasses lead was to last only 9 minutes when Sweetman-Kirk bagged her second of the afternoon for the blades to cap an excellent performance from the Sheffield forward. Neither side could force a winner and despite four minutes of additional time at the end of the game, it was to finish 2-2.

Sunderland v Sheffield United: FA Women’s Championship
Holly Manders celebrates after scoring Sunderland’s second goal during the FA Women’s Championship match between Sunderland and Sheffield United at Eppleton CW, Hetton on Sunday 6th February 2022.
Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The point is most welcome for us lasses fans and well deserved, especially with the experienced duo of McCatty and Kelly out through suspension and injury respectively. The whole team worked incredibly hard to take a point from the encounter. Herron was excellent after again playing out of position at centre half. Joice in midfield was tenacious and ever probing with Louise Griffiths like a brick wall with Herron in the centre of defence. She was another player playing out of position for the good of the team. Haway the lasses.


Player of the Match - Neve Herron

Simply outstanding. She seemed to be everywhere and smelt danger before it happened. All of this, and centre half it’s not even her best position.

Sunderland v Sheffield United: FA Women’s Championship
Neve Herron beats Courtney Sweetman-Kirk to the ball at Eppleton on Sunday.
Photo by Nigel Roddis - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

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