Moors Ladies’ first outing of 2024 ended in defeat as they were beaten by league-leaders Sunderland West End at Wearmouth Colliery Welfare on Sunday afternoon.
Billy Shackleton’s side started brightly against their NERWFL Premier Division rivals and even took an early lead, but the hosts came back positively to run out 4-2 winners and consolidate their position at the top of the table.
The game was only a minute old when Caitlin Bates broke dangerously down the right flank and her deep cross deceived the home keeper and struck the far post, before Abi Kisby reacted quickest to fire home the rebound for 1-0.
However, Sunderland reacted almost immediately and were level from right-wing corner before moving in front for the first time midway through the first half thanks to a deflected strike.
The problems deepened for Moors on 35 minutes when West End moved forward to shoot on goal from the edge of the box which flashed past keeper Sophie Miller to make it 3-1 to the hosts.
Katy Hemmingway and Kisby both had opportunities to pull one back before half time, while Courtney Mole’s long-range drive had the keeper beaten but just passed the post.
Some tweaks to the system at the break allowed Moors to get a foothold back in the game, with Bates looking a particular threat down the right and Kisby’s presence and link-up play creating issues for the home defence.
Miller made a couple of good saves to keep Sunderland at bay before Moors grabbed a goal back on 71 minutes when Shannon Reed whipped a wonderful cross into the area where Kisby met it perfectly to head home.
Once again, the home side responded well to the setback though and almost immediately reestablished their two-goal advantage when they converted from another well-worked corner to make it 4-2.
Moors refused to give up and Hannah Knox sent a couple of efforts just over the bar, Kisby was denied her hat-trick by a fine save from the Sunderland keeper, who also saved well from Reed.
“Overall, it was a poor performance today,” admitted Shackleton afterwards.
“We just couldn’t seem to get going today, though we knew that Sunderland were going to be a tough side for us to beat.
“Of course, it’s never nice to lose but we have to bear in mind that we were up against opposition who are established at this level and we’re still in a great position to achieve our aims this season.”
Full Time: Sunderland West End 4 Moors 2Moors: Miller, Middleton, O Mole, N Jackson, Saunders, C Mole, Gray, Reed, Hemmingway, Bates, Kisby.
Subs: Drinkald (57), L Jackson (68), Knox (72), Grayson (83), Seymour (88).