Final Score: London Bees 0 Sunderland Ladies 1

SUNDERLAND Ladies head coach Claire Robinson is hopeful that Abbey Joice will not be out of action for long after the striker sustained an ankle injury in Sunday’s victory over London Bees.

Beth Mead’s first-half header ensured the Lady Black Cats continue to fly high in the FA Women’s Super League Two, picking up their fourth win in four games.

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However the victory was overshadowed as Joice was stretchered off after the break following a challenge by Bees midfielder Dawn Mallett.

Robinson said: “The medics have treated Abbey, and she has been taken to hospital as a precaution,” she said. We will have an update from there but we think it’s something around the ankle. Fingers crossed, nothing too serious.

“She has been one of many top players this season. It’s obviously going to impact us but we’ll consider that when it comes.

“They – pardon the phrase – parked the bus. That’s something we’re going to have to apply a game-plan for. But, we dominated possession and I’m happy with that and it’s another three points.”

Sunderland were on top from the off and Abby Holmes went closest early on, shooting over on 12 minutes after exchanging passes with Mead on the right.

Mead’s left-footed shot on the half-hour then forced Cherie Rowlands into a good low save.

Joice should have scored on the stroke of half-time, Kelly McDougall finding her unmarked in the middle, but she shot straight at Rowlands.

They finally broke the deadlock in stoppage time though, Mead heading in McDougall’s precise left-wing cross.

The Lady Black Cats’ momentum was halted shortly after the break when Joice was stretchered off following a lengthy delay.

Rachel Furness nearly doubled their lead on 69 minutes though, her powerful first-time strike from 18 yards forcing Rowlands to turn wide at full stretch.

McDougall went even closer ten minutes later, her rising 20-yard effort clattering the bar and bouncing clear.

Bees manager Tom Donati said: “It was a good game of football to be fair, two sides with very different styles. It was always going to be a tough day but we’ve tried to hold out and unfortunately they’ve nicked one at the end of the half. That’s something for us to work on.

“Cherie was fantastic. She’s made some fantastic saves. You’re going to get that when you’re having to defend and backs are against the wall

“The second half was a positive though against what I class as a top team.”

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