SUNDERLAND head coach Claire Robinson was delighted with her side’s squad depth after watching her reshuffled troops ease to a comfortable victory over local rivals Durham.
Abbey Joice opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time in their Group Two opener of the WSL Continental Cup, their fourth game in the last two weeks.
And after the break Beth Mead and a Lauren Jordinson own goal saw Robinson’s troops canter to their fourth straight win in all competitions, much to the boss’ delight.
“It was a comfortable win. I’m happy with the performance. We still could have had a few more goals too, but the chances are coming and that’s the pleasing thing.
“We’ve been able to rotate the players too, and brought some young players through and I was pleased with their performances too.
“We need to keep an eye on the squad. We have a starting eleven but it’s important to give the squad players a chance and keep that winning mentality going forward.”
Durham had started brightest, Jess Round shooting over on nine minutes after Zoe Ness’ pull-back, but Sunderland were soon into their stride.
Captain Stephanie Bannon’s diving header crashed against the bar and bounced clear on 18 minutes while Mead and Kelly McDougall both came close in the opening period.
And the deadlock was finally broken in first-half stoppage time, Joice timing her run to perfection to break clear and lob the ball home over Danielle Hill.
Mead doubled the lead five minutes into the second-half, running on to McDougall’s header and slotting coolly into the bottom corner.
Mead could have had another on 70 minutes, but her low 20-yard strike hit the post with Hill beaten but Jordinson's own goal in stoppage time ensured Sunderland secured a comfortable victory.
And Hill, who was stand-in skipper for Durham on the night, admitted she and her teammates only had themselves to blame for the reversal.
“I think it was more pleasing that despite missing players we have been able to frustrate Sunderland until the end of the first-half. Even then, it was one of our mistakes which has led to the goal,” she said.
“To be honest, I don’t think the scoreline reflected the game. They attacked more than us but we had a plan and that was to stop them.
“Obviously conceding three goals is not the best, but again we’ll build on this.”
The FA Women's Super League has been newly expanded to two leagues for 2014. To watch all 18 clubs live in action buy tickets here: http://www.ticketstores.co.uk/fawsl