SUNDERLAND LADIES SPOT ON FOR BONUS
Sunderland claimed two points from last night’s 0-0 draw at Durham Women in their Women’s Super League’s Continental Tyres Cup group tie.
The sides failed to make the breakthrough in the 90 minutes, and Sunderland snapped up a bonus point thanks to a 3-2 shoot-out victory after the final whistle.
It took until the 26th minute for a chance of note to arrive at New Ferens Park, and it fell the way of hosts Durham.
Zoe Ness, threaded a through-ball into the path of the on-running Emily Roberts, who was denied as keeper Rachael Laws made herself big in the Sunderland goal.
WSL1 side Sunderland were solid, if unspectacular, but came close in the 31st minute when Keira Ramshaw latched on to a corner at the back post and saw her header cleared off the line by Durham’s Sarah Wilson.
Simona Koren dragged a shot wide in the 58th minute when bursting clear in behind the Durham back-line.
Neither side, despite plenty of effort and endeavour, could find a way through.
Durham substitute Abigail Cottam toe-ended an effort wide for the hosts in the 68th minute before Zaneta Wyne flashed a cross-cumshot inches past the far post with six minutes to go.
The chance of the match, though, would fall to Cottam in stoppage time.
With only the keeper to beat after a flick from Ness, the Durham substitute smashed her shot straight at a sprawling Laws as the opportunity went begging.
In the shoot-out, Durham’s Lauren Briggs missed the final spot-kick to send the visiting supporters home happy.
Sunderland keeper Laws added: “I wasn’t happy during the 90 minutes and the penalties, I was a bit nervous.
“But we got the job done eventually and we are happy to get a couple of points on the board through the penalties. It was very scrappy. When we had possession we looked good and we created a few chances.
“Neither team could get into a rhythm.
“When we did, we looked good, but we very rarely did it and I think that was our downfall.
“Coming back here, I know a lot of the girls and my best friend Sarah Wilson was taking one of the penalties. She was actually one of the few who scored ... I didn’t let it in honestly!
“I knew which way Beth Hepple was going to go. I had a chat with her before she took her penalty and I asked her if she was going to change because I know where she was going to go.
“I don’t think she did and I nearly got it, I just had to go the way I remembered.”
Durham striker Zoe Ness said: “It is always the case in a derby game that there is little between the two teams.
“Both teams showed that the standard up north is good – it’s producing good players and good games.
“I’m sure every fan who came to watch was entertained. It was a really competitive game.
“We are obviously a bit gutted (to lose the shootout), but we’ve showed we are more than capable of competing. Losing on penalties – that’s football.
“You’re playing against Super League 1 teams so it’s a case of showcasing what you can do as a team. We know the focus was on ourselves.
“Sunderland will feel they have had a tough night and they’ll know they were in a game, so credit to our girls.
“We’re pleased with our performance. We took it to the end so we can’t really complain.”
Sunderland Ladies take on Chelsea Ladies earlier this season
Sunderland Ladies in action against Chelsea