WSL 1: Birmingham City Ladies 1-1 Sunderland Ladies

By Tom GarryBBC Sport at Solihull Moors
Karen Carney
Karen Carney (right), who set Freda Ayisi up for their goal against Sunderland, scored Birmingham City's only other league goal at home this season

Sunderland missed the chance to go top of Women's Super League One as they were held to a draw at Birmingham City.

Freda Ayisi's sharp finish put the hosts ahead in the first-half after fine work from Karen Carney.

Sunderland levelled 10 minutes after half-time through Abbey Joice's close-range finish.

The Lady Black Cats had the better chances but Birmingham held on to move two points above bottom club Bristol Academy with three games remaining.

Ayisi scored rare goal
Freda Ayisi's first-half goal was Birmingham City Ladies' first from open play at home in the league this season.

Sunderland went closest to taking an early lead, with Blues goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer producing two good saves to deny Rachel Furness, firstly palming a long-range effort wide and then tipping her header over from the resulting corner.

However, the hosts grew into the game and took the lead with only their third league goal of the season, when England winger Carney skipped past her marker and squared for Ayisi, who found the net with a first-time, left-footed finish.

After the break, Brooke Chaplen's cross found its way to Joice at the far post, who had time to pick her spot and equalise.

Beth Mead fired wide and Abby Holmes forced a good save from Spencer as Sunderland looked for the winning goal that would have sent them top.

Birmingham stopper Spencer came off her line to smother another Mead effort late on for the visitors, who remain unbeaten in the league since April, before Melissa Lawley fired wide at the other end for the hosts and Carney's curling effort was saved by Rachel Laws.

Birmingham City boss David Parker told BBC Sport:

"Sunderland created chance after chance but we held firm.

"Then when the game opened up and really stretched in the last five or ten minutes, we really came into our own.

"We were unlucky not to nick it but a point was a fair reflection."

Sunderland boss Carlton Fairweather told BBC Sport:

"Rebecca Spencer made some great saves to be be fair to her, and Birmingham battled well.

"They defended well and put their bodies on the line.

"We played as well as we have in the last few games that we've played, so we're disappointed that we didn't get the three points."

Birmingham City: Spencer, Carter, Mannion, Harrop, Ayisi (Wellings), Allen, Linnett (Potter), Carrney (c), Lawley, Westwood, Windell.

Substitutes not used: Baggaley, Sargeant, Edwards, Haines, Peplow.

Sunderland: Laws, Holmes, Greenwell, Bannon (c) Williams, McDougall, Furness, Chaplen (McFadden), Ramshaw (Roche), Mead, Joice.

Substitutes not used: Gunn Olsen, Kelly, Wilson.

Attendance: 704

Referee: Shaun Barry.

As It Stood

1Chelsea Women117222091123
2Sunderland Ladies116232316720
3Man City Women10532149518
4Arsenal Women115331512318
5Notts County Ladies114341815315
6Liverpool Women104151312113
7B'ham City Women11146313-107
8Bristol City Women11128727-205
View full The FA Women's Super League table

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