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      Report & Highlights: Late equaliser denies Palace Women at Sunderland

      Sunderland Women
      Westrup 90'
      Crystal Palace Women
      Hughes 8'

      Elise Hughes saw her early opener cancelled out by a late Brianna Westrup equaliser as Crystal Palace Women departed Sunderland Women with a point in a clash of the early frontrunners of the Women’s Championship.


      • Palace head coach Kaminski names an unchanged XI from the record win over Durham
      • Hughes heads home early on to open the scoring
      • Palace controlling proceedings with Bailey-Gayle twice trying her luck from distance
      • Skipper Everett makes crucial block to deny Dear from close range.
      • Sharpe almost finds the corner with a right-footed effort
      • HT: Sunderland 0-1 Palace
      • Sunderland create opportunities from the right with both Dear and Ejupi heading over
      • Moan makes impressive saves to deny Palace half-time subs Dennis and Blanchard
      • Westrup equalises in the 90th minute, heading in following a free-kick
      • Scarr almost gives Sunderland the lead in injury time, firing wide
      • FT: Sunderland 1-1 Palace
      Women's Match Highlights: Sunderland 1-1 Crystal Palace

      In the wake of their tremendous 9-1 win against Durham the previous week, table-topping Palace arrived at Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season against second-place Sunderland, who also entered the game without defeat – or indeed without conceding a goal.

      The Eagles needed to withstand some early pressure from the hosts, including a wide free-kick from Katie Kitching, which forced Natalia Negri into action, doing well to manage the bodies in front of her.

      It wouldn’t take long for Palace to find their footing however, as a breakaway initiated by Paige Bailey-Gayle resulted in Annabel Blanchard floating a wonderfully weighted cross into the area for Elise Hughes to nod home her sixth goal of the season – after just four appearances – on the eight-minute mark.

      A few minutes later Blanchard was providing the creative spark again, this time playing through Bailey-Gayle, whose shot deflected wide.

      Palace kept up the pressure and it was Bailey-Gayle looking to strike yet again as the Jamaica international’s first-time effort from 18 yards flew just over.

      The game opened up as it entered the latter stages of the first-half, and Sunderland continued to offer a set-piece threat while, at the other end, Kirsten Reilly registered a shot on target.

      Moments later Reilly was required at the other end to make a fantastic sliding challenge to deny Grace Ede a one-on-one chance.

      Sunderland’s best chance of the half came three minutes from the break, some neat play down the right saw Katie Kitching’s low cross parried by Negri into the path of Dear, but Aimee Everett was there to make a crucial block.

      A minute later Molly Sharpe thought she had caught Moan out at her near post, but the winger’s whipped effort graced the side-netting.

      Araya Dennis replaced Bailey-Gayle at half-time and immediately got into the action. She won the ball in the opposition half and drove towards goal before being dragged down by Amy Goddard, who received a booking.

      The Black Cats amped up the pressure on 56 minutes and almost found an equaliser when Dear headed narrowly over the bar following a Mary McAteer cross from the right.

      Another attack came shortly after when Ejupi steered a header over Negri’s goal just after the hour mark, again Sunderland gaining their best opportunities down the right, Jessica Brown this time with the cross.

      Just a minute later, Palace threatened to double their advantage as Dennis was denied by Moan one-on-one from a Hughes flick-on.

      The pinball element of the game continued over the next few minutes. Sunderland came close through Ede’s off-target effort in the area before Blanchard was through on goal via an excellent ball in-behind from Dennis – but Moan yet again stood strong and made another good save.

      Play stopped for a period when Dennis went down following a strong collision; both sets of physios provided support, and thankfully Dennis was okay to continue.

      The hosts piled pressure on with long balls into the box and in the final minute of normal time, Natasha Fenton’s lofted free kick was met by the head of Westrup to draw Sunderland level – a cruel blow for Palace's efforts.

      In the ninth minute of added time, another free-kick entered the Palace box. Dear was denied at the first attempt, before Scarr’s follow up flashed just wide.

      A back-and-forth game saw both Sunderland and Palace remain still unbeaten, dropping to fourth and third in the table respectively.

      Laura Kaminski’s side will look ahead to their return after the international break to the VBS Community Stadium on Sunday 30th September, when they face Sheffield United.

      Sunderland: Moan (GK), Brown, Goddard, Westrup, Griffiths, Fenton, Kitching, Dear, McAteer (Scarr, 84), Ede (Jones, 69), Ejupi (Watson, 69)

      Subs: McCatty (GK), Rouse, McInnes, Borthwick, Cassap, Corbyn.

      Palace: Negri (GK), Reilly, Everett, Nolan, Gibbons, Filbey (Arthur, 58), Hopcroft (Guyatt, 90), Bailey-Gayle (Dennis, 45), Blanchard, Sharpe, Hughes

      Subs: Wright (GK), Cataldo, Potter, Doran