Team Sunderland’s women went down to an agonising defeat in their first game of the season in a seven-goal derby thriller against Northumbria Women’s Seconds.
Having come back from 2-0 and 3-1 down through Anya Kennedy’s brace and a goal from Courtney Mole to be on terms at half-time, Sunderland were finally only beaten by a brilliant late free kick.
Northumbria struck first after they stole the ball in midfield, drove down the left and the ball was cut back into the middle for a cool finish.
They soon doubled their lead, as a corner was floated in high and powerfully headed home.
But Sunderland pulled one back after a slick move down the left was matched by a good cross which was calmly converted by Kennedy.
Northumbria ‘s two-goal cushion was restored when a corner was not cleared and the ball was finally forced home after bobbling around in the box.
Yet back came Sunderland, as Mole rewarded sustained pressure by showing brilliant technique to beat the keeper from distance.
And Kennedy then stunned Northumbria by latching on to a long ball and chipping the goalkeeper for a brilliant equaliser.
The second half was lively, if not quite as action-packed, as both teams searched for the winning goal and the Northumbria keeper had to pull off a good save from a long-range strike.
But a foul on the edge of the Sunderland box set up a free kick which was curled very nicely into the top corner to finally break Sunderland’s resistance.
Next up for Team Sunderland is a trip to Lancaster.