Jordan Nobbs came back to haunt her former club as Arsenal eased to comfortable double over Sunderland Ladies, winning 4-0 at Eppleton CW.
It was Carlton Fairweather side’s seventh defeat of the season and leaves them six points above the drop zone.
Sunderland started brightly yesterday but Brooke Chaplen could not get to Beth Mead’s first-minute cross.
But the Lady Black Cats’ hopes of stifling a side which had stuck 12 goals past them already in 2016 came apart in the 10th minute.
Danielle Carter got the better of Tori Williams in the area before Sunderland defender Abby Holmes brought her down, referee John Matthews awarding a penalty.
England midfielder Fara Williams saw her spot-kick beaten out by Rachael Laws but Victoria Losada followed up to bury the rebound high into the net.
Player of the match Nobbs, who gave a virtuoso display, doubled the lead in the 24th minute, combining superbly with Danielle van de Donk before beating Laws with a delicious finish off the outside of her right foot.
Youngster Madelaine Hill had two chances for Sunderland, but from the first could not get any venom in her shot to trouble Sari van Veenendaal, while her second effort flashed inches wide of the keeper’s left stick.
The game though was over as a contest early in the second half when Carter finished emphatically into Laws’ top left corner from Dominique Janssen’s cross.
And it was 4-0 when Mr Matthews adjudged that Danielle Brown had tripped van de Donk and Williams buried the 53rd-minute penalty
Hill had a further sight of goal but this time van Veenendaal pulled off a super diving save to her right.
Nobbs almost brought the curtain down on her great display with a last-minute volley, but it just cleared the bar.
The 23-year-old, from Bishop Middleham in Co Durham, was watched by proud family members in the main stand, including dad Keith, the Hartlepool United defensive legend.
Sunderland Ladies: Laws, Brown,Bannon, Sharp, T Williams, Holmes; Staniforth (McDougall 86), Furness (Potts 58), Hill, Chaplen, Mead.
Unused subs: Olsen, Beer, Ramshaw, Kelly
Arsenal: van Veenendaal; Scott (Corredera 68), Stoney, Rose, Janssen; Nobbs, F Williams (Mitchell 61), Losada, Natalia, van de Donk (McCabe 73), Carter
Unused subs: Rogers, Dean, Wubbon-Moy, Oshoala
Goals: Losada 10; Nobbs 24, Carter 48, Williams pen 53. Booked: Natalia 41
Referee: John Matthews. Attendance: 608