Bristol 1 Sunderland 2
Goals from Bridget Galloway and Rachel Pitman gave Sunderland victory at the Stoke Gifford Stadium and consigned Bristol City to their third consecutive defeat in the FA Women’s Super League. Though Lauren Hemp headed the home side level soon after Galloway had given the visitors an early lead, it was not enough for the home side, who were denied a leveller late on when substitute Carla Humphrey hit the crossbar. The away victory was Sunderland’s first in the league since defeating Yeovil 1-0 in October last year.
Sunderland were the first to threaten when former Bristol player Lucy Staniforth’s angled drive was well held by keeper Sophie Baggaley. But the Wearsiders went ahead in the 11th minutes when Dominique Bruinberg’s cross from the left was met by Galloway, who promptly turned it into the bottom corner from eight yards. The Vixens needed only four minutes to get back on level terms when Frankie Brown’s cross from the right flank saw Hemp rising to flash a powerful header past Rachel Law in the Sunderland goal. The visitors enjoyed the better of the chances over the rest of the opening period with Baggaley diving to her left to deny Bruinenberg before pulling off a miraculous stop on the half-hour when she somehow managed to keep out Victoria Williams’ point-blank header from a Staniforth corner, Bristol then surviving the ensuing goalmouth scramble. Bristol went close soon after the break when Danique Kerkdijk nodded a Jana Daniels corner across the face of goal, but Sunderland regained the lead in the 58th minute. The Vixens failed to clear Staniforth’s free kick and Pitman promptly turned the loose ball home. Despite a flurry of chances at either end over the closing stages, there were no further goals.
Bridget Galloway (2017-18)
Sunderland skipper Lucy Staniforth said: “I thought we were tremendous from start to finish – we had a game plan, we knew what we needed to do and we executed it. “It’s a shame we conceded the goal to make the game a bit tighter than it needed to be, but we knew we had enough to win and I’m glad we did.” “I’m always happy to contribute and I’m delighted for Rachel because she had a long time out injured and has worked hard to get back, so she deserves it.” Bristol City boss Willie Kirk said: “It was a disappointing result and a disappointing performance. No disrespect to Sunderland, but we feel we should be winning games like this and are better than we showed here. “Although we were involved in the game for large spells, we lacked control of it – and we failed to control ourselves, our emotions and Sunderland’s attacks.”
Sunderland travel to Liverpool in the FA WSL in two weeks time but face Aston Villa in the SSE Women's FA Cup with Bristol heading to Reading in the league in a fortnight Staniforth added: “We are on a bit of a roll at the moment and feel confident. We have Aston Villa in the Women’s FA Cup next weekend and that will take us nicely into the Liverpool game. “I feel we have hit a bit of form in recent weeks and will go there with confidence.”
Bristol City 1
Galloway 11, Pitman 58
Bristol City (4-1-3-2): Sophie Baggaley; Frankie Brown, Danique Kerkdijk, Jasmine Matthews, Loren Dykes; Julie Biesmans; Olivia Fergusson, Chloe Arthur, Charlie Estcourt; Yana Daniels, Lauren Hemp.
Substitutes: Carla Humphrey (for Daniels, 75), Millie Turner (for Dykes, 75), Jess Woolley (for Kerkdijk, 75)
Substitutes (not used): Aimee Watson, Flo Allen, Aimee Palmer, Eloise Wilson
Sunderland (4-5-1): Rachel Laws; Hayley Sharp, Ellie Stewart, Victoria Williams, Kylla Sjoman; Rachel Pitman, Zanetta Wynne, Dominique Bruinberg, Kasia Lipka, Lucy Staniforth; Bridget Galloway
Substitutes: Keira Ramshaw (for Galloway, 84), Abbey Joice (for Wynne, 89)
Substitutes (not used): Dominique Preuss, Mollie Lambert, Abbey Joice, Danielle Brown
Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis