WSL preview: Sunderland and Durham return to league action

OPENING GOAL: Beth Mead celebrates putting Sunderland 1-0 up against Doncaster Rovers Belles on Thursday night

GOALSCORER: Beth Meads scored the first in Sunderland's 2-0 Continental Cup win at Doncaster Rovers

First published in Sport

SUNDERLAND head coach Claire Robinson hopes their FA WSL Continental Cup victory over Doncaster Rovers Belles on Thursday sends a message to their Women’s Super League 2 rivals.

The Lady Black Cats are back in league action tomorrow after three consecutive cup games when they host London Bees at the Hetton Centre (12pm kick-off).

Robinson’s side continued their blistering start to the season – which includes five wins in their last six games – in Thursday night’s win over fellow title contenders Doncaster Rovers thanks to goals from Beth Mead and Rachel Furness.

And the Sunderland head coach is eager for that victory to be the catalyst for more in the league with her side and the Belles locked level on nine points at the top of WSL 2.

“A good cup run and a fantastic win against Doncaster can send a little message out,” said Robinson.

“After this result we are confident of chasing them down in the league. Doncaster couldn't handle some of our play and some of what the girls were doing.

“Then it’s about the organisation and again the credit goes back to the girls, they defended really strong.

“It was all about reactions, and the girls started flying. All credit goes to the girls for reacting the way they did (after the 6-0 defeat against Liverpool).”

Opponents London have had a mixed start to the season, winning one, drawing one and losing one of their opening three games, scoring six goals whilst also conceding six.

They will face a mean home defence who have conceded only four league goals this season, while the Lady Black Cats have bagged ten times at the other end.

Meanwhile, Andy Thorpe is urging Durham Women fans to ignore the scorelines and focus on performances.

The Wildcats slipped to their seventh defeat in as many games in Wednesday night’s 3-0 defeat to Everton in the Continental Cup.

Goals from Kelly Jones, Simone Magill and Lauren Davies – the latter on her debut – handed the hosts a comfortable 3-0 win.

Durham face another difficult task tomorrow when they travel to face fancied Reading, but despite their un-envious run continuing, coach Thorpe is not hitting the panic button just yet.

“It’s a new team, some of these players haven’t played together before,” he said. “We’ll still learning but there’s good team spirit.

“I don’t think we gave up at any time, we kept pressing well and caused them a few problems at the back.

“It’s a challenge every week but we’ve got a good team spirit. We don’t look at the scorelines too much, we created good chances.

“The play probably doesn’t reflect the score, if we’d put our chances away as well it would have been a more interesting game.

“But it’s coming together now – after the little break in June we’ll put a good effort in and I think the second half of the season will come good and we’ll get some points on the board.”

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

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