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Women's Football News
Sunderland's stuttering league form continued as they could only manage a 1-1 draw with neighbours Newcastle Utd at the Hetton Centre on Thursday evening.
The result means that Sunderland must now win all of their four remaining games to overhaul leaders OOH Lincoln to win the title and gain promotion to the National Division.
The Wearsiders had more of the play but could not take advantage of their dominance. Even the floodlights failed with two minutes remaining and Sunderland on the attack. The game was restarted after a 20 minute delay but the final minutes could not ignite a home victory as the visitors were happy to see out their share of the spoils.
Sunderland began brightly as Lucy Staniforth played in Jordan Nobbs whose effort from the edge of the box went narrowly wide. Then Vicky Greenwell brought the ball through the middle to set up Natalie Gutteridge who also pulled her shot wide. Great play between Kelly McDougall and Nobbs released Sophie Williams who ran through the defence but couldn't get her shot on target.
Newcastle came close to taking the lead in the 10th minute from a left wing corner which was flicked goalwards and Gemma Wilson headed off the line. Sunderland pushed forward again as Demi Stokes and Williams combined to set up Nobbs whose shot was well saved by keeper Sarah Eadon. Newcastle were happy to soak up the pressure and rely on the quick break as Naomi Robson went clear only to be denied by a great recovering tackle from Wilson. Then a long clearance from Helen Alderson deceived the visiting defence but Eadon cleared just ahead of the on rushing Nobbs. A Mel Reay snapshot was gathered easily by Alderson before Williams and Gutteridge had efforts scrambled clear.
Sunderland continued to dominate and almost got the breakthrough following a corner from the right in the early moments of the second half. As the ball came in, a Lucy Bronze header was cleared off the line and Bronze herself reacted first as her follow up header was again cleared off the line. Newcastle finally cracked in the 59th minute as Williams chased the ball down the right and crossed for Gutteridge to dive full length and power a header beyond Eadon to give Sunderland the lead.
As the Wearsiders pushed on the visitors sounded a warning when Rachael Furness hit a strong shot from the edge of the box which was well held by Alderson. Williams was sent clear by Stokes but her shot on the turn cleared the bar and then a McDougall effort was saved by Eadon.
Newcastle equalised in the 81st minute as the ball was cleared from defence to Reay who, from 35 yards, turned to hook the ball long and high towards goal and it sailed agonisingly over the back pedalling Alderson into the net. The visitors pulled everyone behind the ball in an attempt to frustrate Sunderland's attack and the final minutes were played out with little serious threat on goal.
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