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Southampton v Charlton: Barclays FA Women’s Championship

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Lasses Match Preview: Sunderland travel to Bristol as the Barclay’s Women’s Championship returns

Herron and Ramshaw are back as Sunderland Women travel to the south west to today play Bristol City, looking for their first win of the season.

Photo by Alex Davidson - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

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Sunday 18th September 2022

Bristol City Women v Sunderland AFC Ladies

FA Women’s Championship

Robins High Performance Centre, Clevedon Rd, Failand, Bristol, BS8 3TN

FA Women’s Championship - 3pm kick off


Tickets & match coverage

Tickets: Book tickets online Adults £8, Seniors (65+) and Under 22s £6, Under 19s £5, Under 12s £4.

Travel: There is a bus service direct to the Bristol HPC and car parking available at the ground (details in the tweet below).

Highlights: The FA Player will have highlights and a full match replay from Monday afternoon.

Coverage: There is no live coverage of this match available to fans. Updates will be provided on Twitter via @SAFCWomen


The build-up...

Last weekend’s needless cancellation of football matches by the FA combined with the disappointment at the promotion of the Stadium of Light double header a few weeks ago means that there’s been a pretty deflated atmosphere amongst some of the fanbase.

It’s going to be difficult for us to cover the game in any detail until Monday, so unless you’re able to get to the game in person you’ll be joining us in constantly refreshing the Twitter feeds to follow along with the action. It’s almost enough to make one nostalgic for the National League days during lockdown.


The Lasses

Two games into the season and we’ve had one great result drawing away at Durham on the opening day and an understandable but still disappointing defeat to Birmingham City. Mel Reay made it clear in the aftermath of the home defeat to the Blues that she was angry about aspects of the performance, and we can be sure she’ll be expecting a reaction from the players today.

Three games in a row against fully professional outfits who are all expected to challenge for promotion is a tough start to the season, and there will be easier games to come, but we’ve shown in the past that we had more than match up to this powerful and experienced Bristol City side.

On Friday evening we got one or two pictures from training, which was really good to see.

The big story is whether or not we will either Keira Ramshaw or Neve Herron make their first appearances of the season. The duo are back in the squad after recovering from foot injuries, as Mel Reay told the club website on Friday:

Keira Ramshaw and Neve Herron will go back into the squad, which is a big positive for us... Neve was a strong player for us last year.

You have to got to be careful with a broken foot not to bring someone back too early but she’s hit all her milestones, the doctor is happy and she’s trained really well all week, so she’s really eager to get out on the pitch on Sunday.

Where Herron and Ramshaw fit into the new look Sunderland line-up will be interesting, fans have long hoped that we would bring in defensive cover that would allow Herron to play as a CDM and with Brianna Westrup that’s now in place. There’s also now plenty of competition for new mother Ramshaw on the wings, and both birthday girl Emily Scarr and newlywed Abbey Joice will be hoping to stake a claim for a starting spot.

Reay also told Phil Smith that the squad has been affected by a couple of covid-19 cases during the unexpected break, but this shouldn’t affect the makeup of the team this weekend.

The imbalances in recovery times between the fully pro and part-time sides will have also been mitigated by the hiatus in the season and the Lasses will go into the game fit and keen to get their first win of the campaign.

Sunderland Ladies v Birmingham City Women: Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Ashley Allen - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

The Opposition

Our hosts this afternoon have put out loads of content this week, including videos of the players training and an interview with midfielder Emily Syme, who scored her first for the club against Blackburn a couple of weeks ago.

Bristol City are one of the favourites for promotion this season, their already strong squad has been added to significantly over the summer and they’ve started with two wins from two games.

The teams they’ve beaten so - Blackburn and Coventry United - are the two teams still in the league who finished below us last season and both are, like Sunderland, part time sides, so our performance will be a decent barometer of where we stand in relation to similar sides.

As a former WSL side also backed by an EFL Championship club, Bristol City are one that Sunderland should see as a peer rather than as a superior. Our 2-2 draw in the final game at Eppleton at the end of last season, especially with the radio commentary and the live stream, was one of the best results and performances in our recent history.


Head to head...

(All venues, WSL, WSL2/Championship + Continental Tyres Cup since 2014)

Played: 7

Sunderland wins: 4

Bristol City wins: 2

Draws: 1

Sunderland goals: 13

Bristol City goals: 9


Last time out at the Bristol HPC...

Bristol City 2 - 1 Sunderland

Sunday 3 October, 2021

(Johnson ‘58(P), Palmer ‘64 - Potts ‘85)


One to watch... Shania Hayles

The signing of a player of the calibre of Shania Hayles this summer signalled Lauren Smith’s intent for City to make a big push to regain their WSL status this season. The newly minted Jamaican international forward joined from Aston Villa alongside Jodie Hutton and Emily Syme, while Anita Asante also made the trip down the M5 to join the backroom staff.

A former England age-group international, Hayles is still only 23 and won Championship with Villa in 2019-20, and scored within 15 minutes of making her debut for the Robins against Blackburn. She’s quick, she’s a good finisher, and she’ll add a new dynamic to an already powerful forward line.


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