Sunderland left Hacked as Lewes left it late
Ellie Hack’s late goal gave Lewes a narrow 1-0 win at Sunderland in the Barclays Women’s Championship.
After a goalless first half, the game looked headed for a 0-0 draw, but Hack struck in the 83rd minute to give the team their third win in as many games.
Ahead of the game, Sunderland had lost their last three games, while the visitors had won three of the previous four.
However, nothing could separate the two teams in the opening 30 minutes, with both sides failing to register a shot.
It was the hosts who had the first opportunity when 17-year-old star Grace Ede saw her shot blocked in the area in the 32nd minute.
Emily Scarr tried an audacious chip from long range eight minutes after the break, but the effort floated just over the bar.
Emily Kraft forced Sunderland goalkeeper Claudia Moan into her first save of the afternoon at the other end with a low drive.
The second half proved to be far more open than the first.
Amber-Keegan Stobbs saw a shot tipped over the bar and Kraft fired wide as the East Sussex side grew in confidence.
Abby Holmes tried her luck from the edge of the box after good work from Abbey Joice but she was denied by Lewes keeper Sophie Whitehouse.
The breakthrough finally came seven minutes from the final whistle when Hack swerved into the box to convert a Rhian Cleverly cut-back.
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Lewes’ Paula Howells said: “I thought the first half was very difficult but it was a difficult surface. I think they’ve had a lot of rain here so it was difficult to get the ball down and play considering we’re used to our pitch. It was about everything we had to grind it out, to go in 0-0 at half time and then we knew we had everything we had to do in the second half which was going to be tough again but we did it so we are very happy.
“The first half was very difficult to play – our players were complaining about the sun, so it was difficult for our forwards to get on the ball for example. The [Sunderland] probably had a similar situation in the second half so we knew we could really exploit that and make them go backwards. It definitely opened up – I think they probably had some tired legs close to full time, so we probably had that advantage as well. All in all I think it was a very good game and great to come away with three points all the way up here.”
Sunderland’s Brianna Westrup said: “We had some good opportunities in the first half, we built quite well from the back – something we were keen to do today, so the team were quite happy with that at half-time.
“It wasn’t the best result – again letting in a set game that we’re trying desperately to tighten up in training but it didn’t go our way in the end so we’ve just got to park this one and move on.
“Games are won and lost in the box, so set pieces will be incredibly important – defensively as well as offensively – if we can get to the end. I think we almost had a couple of half-chances on some attacking set plays, so if we can tighten it up defensively and hopefully create a bit more on that attacking side, that will only do us good going forward.”