Sunderland win Women's Premier League for second season in a row

By Tony LeightonWomen's football reporter

Sunderland boss Mick Mulhern praised his players after they won at Cardiff to clinch the Women's Premier League title for a second successive season.

Beth Mead hit the winner in a 2-1 victory after Nicola Devine's goal was cancelled out by Terri Beddows.

The Black Cats went into the game knowing they had to win to pip Leeds United, who had completed their games but were two points clear at the top.

"It was a pressure game but the girls took on the challenge," Mulhern said.

"They came through with flying colours. They showed how we've grown as a team this season after we lost several key players last summer.

"We gave away a few points early doors, but we've not lost since October and to win the league again with such a young team is a fantastic achievement."

Seventeen-year-old Mead's winner, an 18-yard drive into the top corner, was her 29th league and cup goal of the season.

Sunderland had taken the lead through Devine's ninth-minute shot, but Beddows levelled the scores six minutes later.

England Under-17 striker Mead's 52nd-minute goal proved decisive, however, and Mulhern said: "Beth's had an incredible season.

"She's got real talent but also has a great work ethic, and if she keeps that then she could have a great future at international as well as club level."

Mead will now be aiming to complete the season by hitting the 30-goal mark when the Black Cats face Leeds in Sunday's League Cup final.

"Winning the league was the most important thing for us," said Mulhern. "But now we've done that it would be amazing to win the cup as well.

"It will be a tough final because Leeds are a very good side and they were worthy title challengers - but it's my dream now to end the season with a fantastic double."

All of the day's other women's games, including Super League, Premier League and the Arsenal-Chelsea FA Cup semi-final, were postponed due to waterlogged pitches.

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