Sunderland Ladies - Reading Women Preview: Same game, different circumstances

Eight days after opening their WSL 1 campaign against them, the Lady Black Cats clash with the Royals in the quarter-finals of the FA Women's Cup.

Sunderland Ladies - Reading Women Preview: Same game, different circumstances
Beth Mead was on the scoresheet when these two last met. (Photo: Sunderland AFC Ladies)

Their second meeting in eight days; Sunderland Ladies host Reading Women on Sunday afternoon looking for a more impressive result than last week's 1-1 draw.

Beth Mead's strike less than 60 seconds after the restart was needed to secure a point for the Lady Black Cats, with Lois Roche's effort four minutes before the break putting them a goal down.

This time round, Sunderland will be keen to assert their authority against the newly-promoted side; a side who are likely to be looking to Carlton Fairweather's team as an example to follow after their incredible fourth placed finish in their top flight debut in 2015.

Tight affair

Just like last week's meeting, this game promises to be tight and well-contested, especially with a place in the FA Women's Cup semi-finals at stake.

The head-to-head between these two emphasises this even more, with previous clashes between the two always close. 

In 2014, when Sunderland were WSL 2 title-winners and won promotion to WSL 1, Reading were one of just two teams to take points off of them all year - the other being runners-up Doncaster Belles.

A 1-1 draw came down South, while the reverse produced a 3-2 win for the Lady Black Cats, with all four points ones that the Wearsiders really had to work for.

Both sides have improved since then, and 2015's WSL 2 champions will be confident they can better last week's 1-1 draw, whereas Sunderland will be determined to come out on top given that is what the status quo says they should.

Sunderland celebrate their equaliser last weekend. (Photo: Sunderland AFC Ladies)
Sunderland celebrate their equaliser last weekend. (Photo: Sunderland AFC Ladies)

Players to watch

Sunderland's main threat going forward is obviously Mead, but it is up to the players around her to supply their star striker with the right service to score.

Brooke Chaplen is key for the Lady Black Cats in terms of creating chances, and so the team will be pleased to see that she is playing with confidence after her match-winning brace in the last round against Yeovil Town.

For Reading, Jade Boho-Sayo is their attacking spark. The former Bristol City attacker boasts incredible pace and has the eye for goal to complement it.

Sunderland's back line will have to be very weary of how they defend against her to prevent her from breaking through on goal with her speed; when given too much space she can really punish teams.

However, whether it's Rachael Laws or Hilde Gunn Olsen in between the sticks for the hosts, Boho-Sayo will have to be on top of her game to take her opportunities against either given their incredible shot-stopping abilities.