Sunderland deserved WSL 1 Spring Series draw against Manchester CitySW

Lucy Staniforth in action for Sunderland Ladies against Manchester City. Picture by Tim Richardson
Lucy Staniforth in action for Sunderland Ladies against Manchester City. Picture by Tim Richardson
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Anke Preuss paid tribute to the 10 girls in front of her after Sunderland came agonisingly close to taking a point from WSL1 champions Manchester City last night.

The Lady Black Cats were seconds from securing a very creditable – and worthy – 0-0 draw with the richest club in the world when Georgia Stanway thumped her 15-yard shot past the keeper.

The German, an inspired winter signing from the Bundesliga, had made two excellent first-half saves from Nikita Parris and Steph Houghton and was ultra-secure in the second half too.

Tenacious defenders Hayley Sharp, Steph Bannon and Tori Williams were magnificent, putting in some superb tackles and blocks, plus goal-line clearances.

Wing-backs Abby Holmes and Keira Ramshaw were equally superb, winging the ball countless times, either in challenges or via interceptions.

The midfielders – Lucy Staniforth, Dominique Bruinenberg and Maddie Hill – who had struggled to get anywhere near Chelsea in the previous game, were relentless in their efforts in all areas of the field.

Up front, Steph Roche and Abbey Joice had glorious chances in the first half to make a good night special, but each time they were thwarted by keeper Ellie Roebuck.

“I think it was really unlucky, it was a great team effort,” said Preuss, who will be in goal on Saturday for Sunderland’s final game of the Spring Series, against Reading at Eppleton CW.

“To concede in injury time feels really bad – we put in such a great effort, there was always a body between the ball and the goal.

“We tried to keep strong and get a point out of this massive game.

“But that’s football.

“Manchester were the better team and had a lot of ball, but even in the second half they did not create any clear chances.

“In the first half, they maybe had a couple of chances, but nothing that good.

“Our defenders did a great job – Tori saved one for me and then it was my job to keep the team in the game. I think we deserved a draw.”