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Southampton FC v Sunderland Ladies - Barclays FA Women’s Championship

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Sunderland Women take on bottom of the league Lewes - can they extend their unbeaten run?

Sunderland Women are looking to extend their unbeaten start to the season - but standing in their way are a Lewes side who, whilst sat bottom of the table, just picked up their first win. Will the Lasses do it?

Photo by Steve Bardens - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Sunderland Women v Lewes FC Women – Match Preview

Sunday 22nd October – 12 noon - Barclays Women’s Championship

Venue – The Dripping Pan, Mountfield Road, Lewes, BN7 2XA.

The Lasses visit a Lewes side who last Sunday claimed their first league win of the season. Their 2-1 win against Watford was much needed and came in dramatic fashion, when former Sheffield United Women centre half Grace Rigler scored the winner in the 88th minute. It was a huge win for Lewes, who although remain bottom of the table, the victory takes them level on points with Watford and one point behind London City Lionesses, who sit just above the relegation zone.

A win on penalties against high-flying Crystal Palace in the Conti Cup and a two-nil defeat to Blackburn Rovers preceded last week’s result for Lewes. We go into the fixture having not lost a game this season, with seven games played in the league and four goals conceded in that time. The lasses manager Mel Reay will take her side on the near 600 mile round trip to Lewes hoping for another three points. The squad and management team will be staying nearby on Saturday evening, to help give the team the best preparation for the game.

We are likely to keep an unchanged side to that which beat Reading 3-1 at Eppleton last week. The Lasses go into the game full of confidence and what an impact the new signings have made to a side that finished second bottom of the FA Women’s Championship last season.

Six of our seven summer signings played against Reading, two of them scoring, the goals coming from Ellen Jones, Elizabeth Ejupi and Katie Kitching. The difference to last season is stark, the players we have on the bench pushing for a place in the starting line up highlight this, not to mention the problems the likes of Katy Watson are giving tiring opposition defences late in games. Also, Emily Scarr, top scorer from last season having to wait patiently on the bench due to the excellent form of Mary Mcateer and Ejupi.

With the Lasses having scored nine league goals this season and Lewes only three, I don’t think it would be unfair to predict a tight and cagey game against a very well organised Lewes side, managed by Scott Booth, who also had a very successful time as manager at Glasgow City FC Women. Booth may be best known to some from his goalscoring exploits, during his playing career and particularly his spells at Aberdeen.

Although Lewes are likely to be in a confident mood after their win last weekend, I think the lasses will be looking to go there and take the game to the home side. Our team and in particular our midfield have done exceptionally well this season and will look to break the home side down with our quick passing and ability to get plenty of players in and around the box. Reay will know that we will need to perform well at the Dripping Pan or we’ll be packed off on the long journey back to Wearside empty-handed. This league is as unforgiving as any in women’s football and if you drop your levels, you’re getting nothing.

Southampton FC v Sunderland Ladies - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Steve Bardens - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

My Prediction...

We know about the competitiveness of this league and the manager will be telling them to forget Lewes are bottom of the table. If we go there and work hard, do the right things with and without the ball I think we will have enough quality in both boxes to win the game. The defensive organisation of a well drilled Lewes side will really test us. With all of this in mind, I’m going for a 1-0 win for the Lasses - Mcateer with the goal.

Haway the Lasses!


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