SUNDERLAND retained the FA Women’s Premier League title with a 2-1 win over Cardiff City in their final fixture in wind and rain-swept Wales yesterday.
Needing to win to overtake Leeds United, who completed their fixtures with victory at Cardiff a fortnight ago, Sunderland made a bright start and were a goal up through Nicola Devine in the 17th minute.
But the home side are battling to avoid relegation and Terri Beddows levelled shortly before the break at the University of Glamorgan.
Amid increasingly driving wind and rain Sunderland regained the lead through Beth Mead, the Whitby teenager’s 29th goal of the season and eighteenth in the league, after 54 minutes.
There were some nervy moments in the last 36 minutes before Mick Mulhern’s side were able to pop the champagne cork, having pipped Leeds by a point.
The back-to-back league titles confirm the Lady Black Cats are the ‘best of the rest’, having controversially been omitted from the elite eightstrong women’s summer Super League over the last two seasons.
Sunderland will now seek a league and cup double as they face their season-long main rivals, Leeds, in the FA Premier League Cup final, at Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium, on Sunday.