Sunderland Ladies went into to new season full of hope that they could emulate the achievements of their last campaign. So far, that hasn’t been the case.
The season is well underway and this is how their campaign has gone thus far.
The Lady Black Cats knew the start of their WSL1 campaign would be tough. The first game saw the arrival of newly-promoted Reading FC Women, who had won WSL2 last year.
A 1-1 draw in their first match, thanks to a Beth Mead strike, meant they had a good starting block to build on in the weeks ahead.
A win followed when Reading Women again came up against the North East outfit in the SSE Women’s FA Cup. Mead, Tori Williams and Brooke Chaplen were all on hand to score and give Sunderland a 3-0 win and a place in the semi-finals.
The highly anticipated semi-final rolled around two weeks later and Sunderland faced Arsenal Ladies, who had finished one place above them last season. Despite the optimism of Sunderland coach Carlton Fairweather, Sunderland were pushed aside with ease, especially after Abbey Holmes’ dismissal, and the London outfit won 7-0.
Fairweather, who was once part of Wimbledon’s infamous ‘Crazy Gang’ has stated that his side are “a lot less insane” than his old teammates. However, a bit of that passion would be needed if Sunderland were going to climb up the table.
Attention turned back to the league but things weren’t set to improve. A draw at home to Liverpool Ladies, in which Chaplen scored a brace, was followed by a 2-0 defeat against Manchester City Women.
This meant after three league games, the Ladies were yet to pick up three points.
Sunderland then faced Reading for the third time in a matter of weeks and scraped a 1-1 after again being reduced to ten players. Mead discussed her disappointment at failing to win yet again.
“We are disappointed again, we’ve come away wanting more and it’s just not good enough,” said Mead.
The club currently sit seventh in the league after four games and next up is Liverpool Ladies once again, who only sit one point above them in the league.
One piece of good news for the Ladies is that Mead, who has been in fine form this season, was voted PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year recently. An achievement that the girls and Mead herself, can be proud of.