Sunderland Ladies welcomed Coventry United to Eppleton Colliery Welfare, who sat bottom of the FA Women’s Championship at the start of the day.
On a lovely afternoon for football, Sunderland were missing the in-form duo of centre half Abby Towers and wide forward player Emily Scarr through injury.
Megan Beer partnered Grace McCatty at centre half, and captain Keira Ramshaw returned to the side to play on the right of midfield.
The first half started in a scrappy fashion, with not much in the way of chances for either side. Neve Herron fired a shot over the bar after 12 minutes, and Coventry then fired an effort wide later in the half.
Both sides were working hard and were set up well, and as such were cancelling each other out. When the half time whistle was blown, 0-0 was a fair assessment of the game overall.
Neither side made any changes to personnel at the break.
Sunderland started the half the brighter, with Abbey Joice making an excellent run out on the right. She put an inviting ball into the box for Maria Farrugia, who couldn’t convert the half chance.
Shortly after that Coventry tested Sunderland keeper Claudia Moan from distance.
Both sides weren’t at their best and manager Mel Reay opted to make two changes with 66 minutes on the clock. Captain Keira Ramshaw and Holly Manders were replaced by two hugely talented Sunderland Regional Talent Club graduates, Grace Ede and Katy Watson.
With this, Sunderland became better in their attacking play without creating any clear cut chances. Then, after 80 minutes, Reay made another change. Farrugia was replaced by Jessica Brown. Her introduction gave the lasses more width and the game came to life.
First Faye Mullen struck a superb effort that was heading into the top corner, only for Coventry keeper Lucy Thomas to make an outstanding save.
Shortly after Emma Kelly played Brown in again and Thomas made another excellent stop.
The game finished 0-0 and despite the two late efforts from the lasses, a draw was probably a fair result.
Attendance - 428.
Claudia Moan - 7/10
A comfortable afternoon for the Sunderland stopper. Did everything she needed to well.
Megan Beer - 6/10
Solid. Not her best position, but you wouldn’t know it on this display.
Grace McCatty - 7/10
Rock solid. Enough said.
Louise Griffiths - 6/10
Such a good full back. Dealt with everything well.
Faye Mullen - 6/10
Did well and coped with any threat she faced. Would have bagged a contender for goal of the season but for an outstanding save from Thomas in the Coventry goal.
Neve Herron - 7/10
Good performance, would liked to have done more when she got forward.
Abbey Joice - 7/10
Played very well. Really busy. Couldn’t unlock the door.
Emma Kelly - 6/10
Not as influential as normal. She’s been a very good signing this season.
Holly Manders - 6/10
Has been playing well. Not as effective today. Still showed for the ball and worked hard.
Maria Farrugia - 6/10
Another player who has been in good form. Ran herself into the ground. Will look even better in behind the striker next season.
Keira Ramshaw - 6/10
Great to see her back in the side after illness. Worked hard, but as with all of our attacking options, it wasn’t her day.
Jessica Brown - 7/10
Made an impact when she came on. Seemed to make the pitch bigger and therefore gave us more space to play in the final third.
Grace Ede - 6/10
Little time to show her abilities. When she did get on the ball, created a buzz in the stands.
Katy Watson - 6/10
Same as Ede, didn’t have much time to shine, but has so much energy.
Player of the Match - Abbey Joice
Everywhere on the pitch and full of energy and hard work. Just couldn’t unlock a very disciplined Coventry back line.