A first half strike from Sarah Hutchison was enough for Team Sunderland to secure all three points and extend their perfect start to the season.

After 10 minutes Hutchison converted a low cross at the near post after good work on the left wing by Katie Ellison.

The win sees Team Sunderland start the season with four wins from four, and extends their lead at the top of the Northern 3B league to five points ahead of second placed Leeds Beckett.

Going into the game, it was the league’s highest scorers – Sunderland scoring a remarkable 12 in their opening three games – against the league’s tightest defence – Leeds only conceding once so far this season.

The hosts did take the lead with Sarah Hutchison converting their first clear chance of the game but other than that they struggled to break down a stubborn Leeds defence.

The closest they came to doubling the lead was after 25 minutes as Amy Brooks hit the underside of the bar from 10 yards out.

Five minutes later Sunderland came close again with Ellison hitting a spectacular dipping volley from 25 yards only for it go the wrong side of the post.

Leeds rarely threatened in the first half but had a glorious chance with Alice Hutchison hitting straight at Georgia Mouzakitis when played through on goal within five minutes of the restart.

Much of the second period was a bitty affair with no real chances, until a great chance for Ellison after 75 minutes seemed to spur the game into life. Sarah Hutchison, turning provider this time, caught the Leeds defence out with a great through ball but Ellison was denied by a smart stop from Abbey Hickney.

A minute later Leeds went close to grabbing an equaliser, with Sunderland keeper Mouzakitis spilling a cross only for the bouncing ball to be fired over.

The hosts then spurned several great chances to secure the win with the Leeds defence struggling to cope with Sarah Hutchison and Ellison but they could not find a way past Hickney.

She first produced a fine save at her near post to deny Sarah Hutchison when through on goal, then produced a stunning double save after 85 minutes to deny Karrie Gippert who hit a low cross too close to the Leeds keeper, then as the rebound came out she was quick to block the follow up.

Ellison then spurned another great chance as she hit an effort wide before Leeds went close once more. Mouzakitis misjudged the flight of a cross and spilled but the Sunderland keeper recovered to deflect the Leeds effort round the post.

Leeds bombarded the Sunderland box in the last few moments with several crosses but Mouzakitis was not troubled and the hosts hung on for the win.