SUNDERLAND opened a four-point gap at the top of FA Women’s Super League 2 after goals from Kelly McDougall and Hayley Sharp downed Oxford United.
McDougall’s first-half penalty and Sharp’s late header condemned Oxford to a fifth straight defeat in all competitions.
Sunderland almost got off to the best possible start, but Keira Ramshaw could only prod the ball onto the bar from a dangerous Victoria Greenwell cross.
Soon after Abby Holmes was brought down in the box, which left McDougall to coolly slot home into the bottom right corner for the Lady Black Cats.
Rebekah Bass flashed a shot narrowly wide towards the end of the half, before Oxford’s Katie Stanley came closest for the U’s with a powerful drive.
The visitors started the second half brightly, and on 53 minutes, Lauren Allison very nearly turned in Helen King’s cross, before King herself nodded over from a corner.
But the home side grew back into the game, and doubled their lead in the 78th minute, as Sharp rose high to nod in the second from a corner to secure all three points.
Sophie Williams rattled the crossbar at the death asSunderland controlled the closing stages, but the hosts couldn’t add to their tally.
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