Durham Women being at home at 12 and Sunderland Ladies being at home at 2 on the same day is something that has happened a fair few times over the past few years. Obviously, it wasn’t really doable when Sunderland were playing at South Shields, but you can just about do both with them now back at Hetton. On the few occasions that I’ve done both, I’ve left Durham Women in injury time to make Sunderland Ladies. It’s only a 10-12 minute drive but you’d struggle to watch every second of each game. I left Durham Women with only a minute of injury time left and arrived at Eppleton CW probably only 30 seconds before kick-off. This fixture today is a fixture that should definitely be played at a higher tier. It should be at least a second tier game, not a third tier game. The new league pyramid was terrible for both of these clubs, but Sunderland have got off lightly compared to Donny. Doncaster Rovers Belles are one of the most famous names in women’s football, and I think it’s terrible to see them struggling in the third tier. Having watched today, it’s clear both Sunderland and Donny are young sides now, but there’s one key difference. Sunderland managed to keep one or two first teamers from last season, and they’ve added a couple of furthest experienced players to the squad. Doncaster, on the other hand, appeared to be a team that is built on just youth and no experience.
Sunderland Ladies cruise to victory over Doncaster
Sunderland Ladies cruised to a convincing 5-0 win at home to Doncaster Rovers Belles on Sunday afternoon.
Keira Ramshaw, Jordan Atkinson, Georgia Gibson and Emily Hutchinson all netted for the Lady Black Cats, and a second half own goal added to the tally.
Sunderland eased off in the second half, and had they been clinical in the first half, it could well have been double figures.
Ramshaw and Gibson both forced saves from Emily Batty early on, before a more impressive save from Batty prevented Bridget Galloway.
In the eighth minute, the hosts should have broken the deadlock. Atkinson burst down the wing and her cross found Hutchinson at the back post. Hutchinson took it under control, but failed to find the target with an effort from six yards.
Ramshaw then headed over from a Dan Brown cross, before Doncaster had their only chance of the first half. A defensive slip gifted Nadia Khan a chance, but her effort was saved by Sophy Stonehouse.
Gibson and Hutchinson then had two further chances each to break the deadlock for Sunderland, but a combination of good goalkeeping and poor finishing was keeping Donny level.
Gibson’s second effort was the pick of the saves from Batty. Atkinson, who was causing all sorts of problems for Doncaster, burst down the wing before cutting in and pulling it back to Gibson. Her first time effort was destined for the far corner, but a fine save from Batty clawed it to safety.
However, there was nothing Batty could do about Sunderland’s next chance as Ramshaw fired the Lady Back Cats ahead. Picking up possession on the corner of the penalty area, Ramshaw cut in before blasting a 22-yard effort into the far top corner giving Batty no chance.
A chance fell the way of Galloway on the half hour mark, but she was eventually charged down.
In the 32nd minute, Sunderland added a second. Galloway’s original effort was tipped onto the crossbar, but Atkinson was there to convert the rebound.
Less than three minutes later, Sunderland added a third. Ramshaw’s effort from the edge of the penalty area was blocked, and the ball fell to Gibson who drilled an effort into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Another Galloway effort was saved in the 37th minute, before a quick one-two between Atkinson and Hutchinson gave the latter a chance but Batty was once again there to save.
Four minutes before the break, Sunderland added a fourth. Hutchinson latched onto Louise Griffiths’ ball over the top before finishing well. By this point, the game was practically over.
Sunderland’s first chance of the second half came just 20 seconds in. Mollie Lambert burst down the wing before pulling the ball back to Hutchinson whose effort was saved.
Ramshaw and Atkinson linked up well soon after, before Ramshaw fired over from a narrow angle.
In the 54th minute, Ramshaw’s teasing cross was met by the stretching Galloway and it was only the crossbar that prevented the Sunderland forward.
Sunderland, as possibly expected, slowed down in the second half. They were still in control of the game, but Batty wasn’t being tested as regularly.
However, a fifth did come in the 65th minute. Gibson’s corner caused all sorts of problems before eventually coming to the back post where it wriggled into the net through an own goal.
Georgia Marshall fired a Doncaster free-kick over in the 69th minute, before an Anna Young effort for Sunderland was awkward for Batty who pushed it behind for a corner.
Hutchinson’s first time effort from the penalty spot was then saved, before Galloway dragged an effort narrowly wide of the far bottom corner.
Gibson forced another save from Batty in injury time, but it counted for little as Sunderland won easy.
Full-time: Sunderland Ladies 5-0 Doncaster Rovers Belles
Next up for me is probably Stockton Town vs Consett on Wednesday.
Sunderland Ladies: Stonehouse, Brown, McCatty, Griffiths, Mullen (Warren, 75′), Atkinson (Woolston, 71′), Gibson, Lambert (Young, 59′), Hutchinson, Ramshaw (c), Galloway
Admission: £4 adults, £1 under-16s
Programme: Don’t think so
Bottle of water and can of Tango: £1.70