Nottingham Forest fell to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of league leaders Sunderland yesterday on a wet afternoon at Eastwood CFC.
Precious Hamilton put The Reds ahead after only eight minutes as the side went searching for their fourth straight win. But Forest’s unbeaten run came to an end as goals from Grace McCatty, Katie Barker, and Bridget Galloway condemned The Reds to defeat to a strong Sunderland side.
After a battling opening few minutes from both teams it was The Reds who took the lead on the eighth minute as Hamilton struck her eleventh goal in seven games. Hamilton did superbly well to fend of several Sunderland shirts inside the penalty box before slotting a well-placed shot past the ‘keeper at the near post.
The visitors responded positively as they drew level seven minutes later. A strong corner-kick was swung into the Forest box and as The Reds failed to clear their lines McCatty was waiting inside the area to send the ball back towards goal. Her effort bounced off a red shirt on the goal line and flew past Aja Aguirre to bring to scoring to one apiece.
The Reds went searching to regain their lead and came close after Bex Rayner and Hamilton linked up again in the Forest attack. Rayner floated a high free-kick into the Sunderland box which Hamilton rose the highest to meet. But she struggled to generate any power behind her effort to test the ‘keeper and the away side successfully cleared their lines.
Sunderland took the lead for the first time of the afternoon on the half an hour mark through spectacular fashion. Barker charged her way through the Forest half before rocketing a shot from over 25 yards out that soared over Aguirre’s head in goal and nestled itself under the crossbar.
Forest came close to levelling the scoring on the stroke of half-time after Sophie Walton picked out Phoebe Warner with a great pass inside the Sunderland half. Warner controlled the ball before she smashed a shot on the half-volley but she failed to connect well with her effort and the ‘keeper made the easy save.
The Reds came out fighting in the second half as they went searching to earn themselves something from the tight contest. Hamilton had another opportunity in front of goal on the 48th minute but her strong effort from the edge of the box was well-saved by the Sunderland shot-stopper.
Opportunities also fell to Walton, Rayner and Georgia Hewitt in front of goal for Forest but all three Reds saw their efforts fly wide of the target.
Forest’s hopes of earning any points for their efforts from the game were dashed on the 79th minute as Galloway added a third for Sunderland. The in-form Black Cats striker blasted a shot from just outside the box that comfortably slotted itself into the top right-hand corner of goal to double her side’s lead.
As the clock ran down and all three points looked to be heading back up North Ellie Casper came agonisingly close to giving The Reds a lifeline. Rayner floated another good free-kick deep into the Sunderland box that found Casper at the far right-hand post but the Forest substitute could only put her close-ranged effort wide of the goal as The Reds were forced to end the game with nothing to show for their efforts.
Forest: Aguirre, Dalton, Harkin (c), Cook, Hewitt (Casper 83’), Walton, Tudor (Moncaster 79’), Warner, Rayner, Middleton (Fisher 62’), Hamilton
Subs not used: Bennett, Dexter
Goal: Hamilton 8’
Sunderland: Moan, Herron, McCatty, Potts, Mullen, Lambert, Farrugia (Gibson 74'), Ramshaw (c), Brown (Beer 85'), Barker (Griffiths 89'), Galloway
Subs not used: Warren, Cottam
Goals: McCatty 15’, Barker 30’, Galloway 79’