Sunderland 0 Manchester City 2: Black Cats need to believe says Stephanie Roche

Beth Mead goes down under a challenge from Steph Houghton. Picture by FRANK REID
Beth Mead goes down under a challenge from Steph Houghton. Picture by FRANK REID

Sunderland Ladies need to believe in themselves “a little bit more” if they are to get a result against the big WSL1 teams.

That was the verdict of Stephanie Roche after the Lady Black Cats suffered their first League defeat of the season – 2-0 to leaders Manchester City in front of the BT Sport cameras last night.

“We played well at Liverpool now we must work hard and do it in these big games too.”

STEPHANIE ROCHE

There was no shortage of effort from Carlton Fairweather’s team, only to lose out to a goal in each half at the Eppleton CW ground, Nikita Parris and Toni Duggan on target.

“We played some really good football last week against Liverpool,” said Roche. “It’s about bringing in that sort of performance against the likes of Man City.

“They have one of the best squads in the league, but we need to believe in ourselves a little bit more.

“We are looking to get on the ball and play and not just lump it up to Beth [Mead].

“We played well at Liverpool now we must work hard and do it in these big games too.”

The Lady Black Cats must also look to cut out the sloppy play – both City goals, while well finished, were both gifts.

Women footballers are not shy to concede throw-ins when the ball is in deep defensive areas and rather than dither in and around their area, Sunderland last night paid the penalty for not putting their foot through the ball.

The first half was a tight affair with chances shared until the 40th minute. Sunderland lost the ball and Jill Scott fed Daphne Corboz who played in the unmarked Parris, who fired an emphatic finish past Rachael Laws at her near post.

Sunderland had two first-half sights at the goal of Karen Bardsley, Roche just off-target with a shot from distance before her strong header was saved down to her right by the England keeper following a cross by Abby Holmes.

The hosts rarely threatened after the break with the exception of a quick break by Beth Mead who also appeared to be tripped as she ran into the box by England skipper Steph Houghton in the 57th minute but referee Rebecca Welsh ruled no foul.

With chances few and far between, the Lady Black Cats needed to be clinical and when ex-Sunderland defender Lucy Bronze fell ion the hour, Roche had all the time in the world to put in a cross, only for her delivery to be over-hit.

Those nearly moments would come back to haunt the home side in the 76th minute.

Sunderland had the chance to clear, lost the ball and Demi Stokes found sub Duggan whose first touch after coming on was to beat Laws with a low shot into her bottom left corner though the keeper will be disappointed not to have done better.

The best two home openings belonged to Roche, who said: “The first one fell nicely for me and went just over the bar and the second one was a good ball in.

“I tried to generate as much power as I could and keep it low but, unfortunately Bardsley got down well to it,” she said.