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Lasses Match Report & Player Ratings: Late comeback not enough as Sunderland beaten by Blackburn

There was stoppage time heartache for the lasses on Sunday as they went down 2-1 to Blackburn at the Tom Finney Stadium yesterday. Here’s what Ant Waterson made of the game

Sunderland fielded the same eleven that beat Charlton Athletic, last week but they could not get their passing going on a difficult pitch early on.

The game was halted quite early in the first half in when Ellie Leek went down unchallenged. Leek was stretchered off with a serious-looking knee injury after some lengthy treatment.

Not long after this, Blackburn took the lead after a corner found their captain Saffron Jordan who scored from close range.

This did spark a reaction from Sunderland and Neve Herron was close to equalising but headed just over from a corner. Another set-piece saw Keira Ramshaw whiz one wide direct from a free kick.

A neat link-up between Jess Brown and Emily Scarr brought a lovely ball from Scarr that Maria Farrugia shot straight at Alex Brooks in the Blackburn goal. The pitch’s uneven bounce and bobble saw both teams struggle as the first half ended.

The second half wasn’t much better for the Lasses as they pressed for an equaliser, but the final ball was left wanting in most cases. Blackburn extended their lead in the 65th minute when Lou Griffiths was intercepted and the ball fell to the impressive Annabell Blanchard, who turned and fired past Claudia Moan.

As the game restarted Sunderland were forced to make a change; Neve Herron, who looked to have hurt herself in the pre-match warm-up, limped off to be replaced by Holly Manders. The injury is probably not too serious, but the club will want to assess her before making any decisions about whether she will appear against Sheffield United next weekend.

Substitute Manders was soon on the scoresheet when, on 68 minutes, she met the ball in the box to score past Blackburn for the second time this season.

Sunderland kept pushing for the equaliser but Blackburn were dangerous on the break. Blanchard struck the post with a great effort before Moan made two good saves to keep the Lasses in it late on.

In stoppage time came drama as Maria Farrugia was brought down in the box. Ramshaw struck the penalty well but Brooks made an excellent save to win Blackburn the match.

The captain was emotional after the final whistle and revealed on Sunday night that her Dad had suffered a heart attack on Thursday, but thankfully he is now on the road to recovery. Last week she also announced that she and her fiance are to become mothers later in the year, so it’s been a dramatic week in the Ramshaw family, and we wish them all well.


Player Ratings

Claudia Moan - 7

There was Nothing she could do about the goals and made two saves near the end to keep Sunderland in it.

Jessica Brown - 6

Her attacking play was good in spells, but she struggled defensively.

Louise Griffiths - 5

Made the mistake for the second Blackburn goal and was not at her brilliant best today.

Abby Towers - 6

Another cool and composed performance from the youngster.

Grace McCatty - 6

Some strong tackles as usual from Grace. Steady.

Neve Herron - 6

A few lovely passes from Neve today but struggled with an injury.

Abbey Joice - 6

Not able to get much of the ball today due to the pitch.

Emma Kelly - 6

Never stopped running and corners were dangerous throughout.

Emily Scarr - 7

Great pace and crossing today. Really benefiting from moving out wide lately.

Keira Ramshaw - 6

Battled hard out wide again and saw a late pen saved. Keep your chin up skipper.

Maria Farrugia - 5

Won the penalty but offered little up top for most of the game. She was outsized considerably by Blackburn's tall centre halves.


Subs

Holly Manders - 7

Came on, scored the goal, and looked lively. She must be pushing for a start now.


Player of the Match - Emily Scarr

Scarr is really benefiting from her move out wide and is developing into a fine winger. Some of her crossing deserved better rewards today.

Sunderland v Sheffield United: FA Women’s Championship Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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