Sunderland Ladies chase first WSL Spring Series win

Sunderland Ladies striker Beverly Leon. Picture by KEVIN BRADY.
Sunderland Ladies striker Beverly Leon. Picture by KEVIN BRADY.

Sunderland Ladies have made a fine start to the new women’s season – but are now looking to turn promise into wins.

The Lady Black Cats take on Bristol tomorrow evening at Hetton, where they hope to maintain their unbeaten start to the WSL1 Spring Series (kick-off 6pm).

If we can keep that defensive shape ... and have a bit more possession then hopefully we can get a couple of goals

MELANIE REAY

Sunderland, under new boss Melanie Reay, have opened up with two good, deserved goalless draws, against FA Cup finalists Birmingham City and last season’s high-fliers, Arsenal.

The early-season form has been built on solid foundations, two tremendous defensive performances, where the side have been both disciplined and brave.

New signing Anke Preuss has been unbeatable between the sticks, while, in front of her, the three defenders – Hayley Sharp, Steph Bannon and Tori Williams – have been towers of strength.

Reay says the great shape and resilience shown so far will give the side confidence and belief for tomorrow’s match against Bristol, who began their programme with a 3-2 win at fellow promoted club Yeovil.

“We have three good centre-halves,” explained Reay. “I think you a need a formation that best suits your players and I think the system is best for us at this moment in time.

“The girls did well the week before against a very good Birmingham side and they are only going to get better.

“Bristol have just come up and they won their first game, so it won’t be easy.

“But I don’t think they will dominate the ball like Arsenal, so, if we can keep that defensive shape and resilience and have a bit more possession, hopefully we can get a couple of goals.”

Beverly Leon and Abbey Joice put a terrific shift in up front and Reay hopes the goals will come.

“The squad have trained well this week and everyone is in good spirits.

“I think the fans enjoyed how hard the girls fought for our draw with Arsenal and we’ll look to build on that.”