Sunderland AFC Ladies manager Melanie Reay. Photo by Scott Heavey/EMPICS Sport

Georgia Stanway scored the only goal in the 91st minute as Manchester City Women claimed a narrow 1-0 win at Sunderland on Wednesday night.

The Lady Black Cats frustrated their professional opposition throughout but the champions of England eventually found a way through as Stanway’s sweet strike beat Anke Preuss.

Preuss regained her spot in goal after Hilde Gunn Olsen had played in the 2-1 victory at Yeovil on Sunday while Steph Roche led the line with Abbey Joice and Lucy Staniforth working the wings.

Manchester City started brightly and Stanway created a chance inside the opening five minutes when cutting in from the right, but her effort was unable to find the target.

Nikita Parris was next to try her luck for the visitors after Jane Ross’ through ball but the England international failed to beat Preuss with an attempted chip.

Loose defending gave Jill Scott a chance for the Citizens with quarter of an hour played but the former Sunderland midfielder could only fire wide.

Despite being on the back foot, Sunderland were playing well and were forcing Manchester City into difficult balls.

A first Sunderland chance came in the 17th minute when Dominique Bruinenberg found Maddie Hill but her long-range effort was always rising over the crossbar.

Preuss saved from Scott soon after, while clever football from Sunderland almost worked an opening but Joice was dispossessed at the last minute.

Sunderland could have taken the lead when Roche was gifted a great chance in the 25th minute. The Republic of Ireland international was played in but fired a shot straight at Ellie Roebuck when one-on-one.

Chances were few and far between for Sunderland as Manchester City continued to dominate.

Preuss was forced to save from Keira Walsh before Ross rounded Preuss before her effort, which was trickling wide anyway, was cleared to safety by Vic Williams.

When creating chances, Sunderland were looking threatening and Joice almost opened the scoring when she poked a deep cross towards goal but Roebuck was there to save.

Stanway’s direct corner clipped the top of the crossbar as time wore on while Steph Houghton’s free-kick forced a fine save from Preuss in first half injury time.

There was some positive football from the Lady Black Cats in the opening exchanges of the second half and Joice went close when her dipping effort had just that bit too much.

Stanway and Parris were both denied half chances on the hour mark before Man City looked to change things with the introduction of Toni Duggan from the bench.

Duggan’s presence seemed to spur the visitors on and in the 73rd minute, Walsh found Parris on the edge of the penalty area but her effort was held by Preuss.

Scott and Duggan were both denied in the final 10 minutes before Houghton flicked a free-kick narrowly wide in the 88th minute.

Sunderland’s hard work was to count for nothing as the deadlock was eventually broken the first minute of injury time.

Demi Stokes had possession and a lucky bounce fell the way of Stanway who fired a powerful drive into the net from 16 yards with Preuss rooted to her spot.

It was a cruel way for the Lasses to go down and they’ll be looking to end the Spring Series on a high with a home game against Reading on Saturday.

Full-time: Sunderland Ladies 0-1 Manchester City Women

Sunderland Ladies: Preuss, Holmes, Sharp, Bannon (c), Williams, Hill, Ramshaw, Staniforth, Bruinenberg (Lambert, 76′), Joice (Leon, 76′), Roche

Unused subs: Olsen, Watt, Pattinson, Brown

Manchester City Women: Roebuck, McManus, Houghton (c), Beattie, Stokes, Scott, Walsh, Christiansen (Lawley, 64′), Parris (Toone, 79′), Stanway, Ross (Duggan, 64′)

Unused subs: Campbell, Hourihan

Referee: Andrew Miller