Beth Mead struck twice as Sunderland beat Watford in the FA Cup. Picture credit: Jodie Minter

Beth Mead scored from the spot for Sunderland. Picture credit: Jodie Minter

It was a tale of two penalties at Adams Park as Sunderland Ladies picked up yet another draw in FA WSL 1.

After Beth Mead scored from the rebound after her penalty was saved, Megan Beer’s handball allowed Reading’s Helen Ward to net from the spot while the defender was given her marching orders.

A 2-0 defeat to Manchester City Women on Friday left Sunderland still searching for their first league win, and a trip to Reading only three days later offered a good opportunity.

The two sides had already met twice this season, with a draw in the league followed by a triumph for the Lady Black Cats in the FA Cup Quarter Final.

In what was a cagey opening, Reading saw a lot of the ball, but failed to really test Rachel Laws in the Sunderland goal.

And they were made to pay for their failure to capitalise on their dominance when Mead was tripped in the area.

The striker saw her spot kick tipped on to the post by Mary Earps before she reacted quickest to convert the rebound.

Reading were still creating chances, though, with Ward volleying wide before full-back Becky Jane curled an effort just past Laws’ near post.

There were opportunities for Sunderland to extend their lead before the break, with Victoria Williams prodding wide Lucy Staniforth’s free-kick and Mead seeing a swerving effort go narrowly wide.

Last season’s FA WSL 2 champions came out the blocks quickly in the second half, keen to peg back their visitors.

Winter signing Amber Stobbs was just off target with her effort before Laws had to be at her best to deny Kayleigh Hines’ header.

It seemed a matter of time until the hosts equalised, and they were handed an opportunity when Sunderland’s Beer handled on the line from a corner.

The full-back saw red, before Ward converted the penalty.

Sunderland stopper Laws was suddenly to become a lot busier, as she twice denied Ward in quick succession as Reading pressed forward.

The Royals were unable to find a second however, meaning Sunderland picked up a hard-earned and valuable point.