Winger Nikita Parris headed in to give Manchester City the win against Sunderland. Picture credit: http://sunderland.fawsl.com

Nikita Parris, above scoring at the Hetton Centre last season, was on the mark against Sunderland again on Friday night. Picture credit: sunderland.fawsl.com

Sunderland Ladies are still searching for their first league win of the season after a 2-0 defeat against Manchester City Women.

Strikes either side of half-time from Nikita Parris and Toni Duggan were enough to hand the Citizens victory and leave Carlton Fairweather’s side on only two points.

The Lady Black Cats made four changes, as Rachel Laws, Victoria Williams, Keira Ramshaw and Abby Holmes all started.

A 2-2 draw at Liverpool last weekend had renewed optimism in the Sunderland camp after their FA Women’s Cup exit, and the hosts started brightly at The Hetton Centre and applied plenty of pressure.

It was to be the visitors who had the first real chances, however, with Parris firing over from the edge of the area before Sunderland stopper Laws kept out Kosovare Asslani’s header.

Sunderland weren’t without their openings, however, with Stephanie Roche curling narrowly wide from distance before Karen Bardsley got down well to keep out her header.

City, though, were still having the better of the play and deservedly took the lead on 40 minutes when Jill Scott’s fine pass opened up the Sunderland defence and allowed Parris to fire home.

Fairweather introduced youngster Abbey Joice at the break, and she almost had an immediate impact but couldn’t get a shot away when presented with an opportunity inside the area.

The visitors were still searching for a second goal, and saw Asslani blaze over and Parris flick a header narrowly over the bar from a free-kick.

With 15 minutes remaining, City grabbed a second goal as substitute Duggan fired in across goal after Sunderland failed to deal with Lucy Bronze’s teasing cross.

This strike ensured defeat for the Lady Black Cats, who will aim to bounce back at Reading on Bank Holiday Monday.

Sunderland Ladies: Laws; Holmes, Bannon, Williams (Beer), Sharp; Chaplen, Furness, Staniforth, Ramshaw (Joice), Roche; Mead