Sunday’s 12:00 kick-off at The Oakwood in Kent plays host to the Lasses' next fixture against Charlton Athletic Women.
Charlton - who played 10th placed Blackburn on Wednesday - will have their second game this week and are looking to continue their four-game unbeaten streak against Sunderland.
Sunderland in turn have recently improved their results after three league losses, with a scintillating 3-0 performance against Coventry in front of home fans as well as a tightly fought draw versus Sheffield United.
With Claudia Moan between the sticks and her recent award of the Barclay’s Women’s Championship Player of the Week, how can we have any doubts that we have a safe pair of hands for this match? Moan’s solid display in goal last week ensured the Lasses could salvage a point against Sheffield United.
With two goals in two games, Abbey Joice looks set to strike for a third, and with the reintroduction of Liz Ejupi last match, our aerial threat could contend with Tom Cruise in a fighter jet. Emily Scarr meanwhile is 5th in the league for goals scored with 7 and you can’t help but wonder if Sunday has potential for some Sunderland shenanigans.
A final mention to Abby Holmes who has guarded our backline from her full-back position with a very simple philosophy of advancing into the opposition half to pepper their six yard box with enough crosses to satisfy our devout forwards. Another display of defending dominance? We’ll have to see.
Charlton come off the back of a midweek game against Blackburn, who sit below Sunderland in the table by one point. Although Charlton have conceded fewer goals than us (19 to our 24), the fact that a low scoring Blackburn (14 goals in 16 games) were able to take a 1-1 draw does give me hope that Charlton could be there for the taking.
Granted they are chasing the top of the league, 9pts off 1st place Bristol and with a game in hand, but with time running out on the end of the season there’s a chance that they know the trophy isn’t theirs, and with a bit of luck, they may have their eyes off the ball.
Charlton’s threat from Melissa Johnson however isn’t to be taken lightly. She has 8 goals this season, averaging a goal every two games, and she scored a hattrick against Coventry last Sunday.
This is a fixture that looks to be promising for the neutral. I expect goals and probably more goalkeeping exploits from Claudia Buffon Moan. There’s potential here for Sunderland to really get stuck in at a good Charlton side that will be on their 3rd game from last Sunday.
There is trepidation given that our last match against Sheffield United didn’t quite kick on in the first half as well as could be hoped. Still, solid defensive performances backed up by a return from Ejupi and in-form Joice may give this team the confidence to perform at their best.
Or at least, the best that can be expected after a 280-mile journey down the A1.
Recent League Form
Sunderland - LLLWD
Charlton Athletic - LWDWD
Total Games Played 11
Sunderland: W4 / D1 / L6
GF - 15 / GA 32
Last Time Out
Sunday 25th September 2022
Sunderland Ladies 2 : 3 Charlton Athletic Women
E. Scarr 27’, E. Rutherford 63’, E. Kelly 78’, K. Skeels 79’, E. N’Dow 90+2’