In the 2018/2019 season, Sunderland were tied for second place in the FA National Premier League North division.
Captain Keira Ramshaw had 24 goals this season, putting her in the running for the Golden Boot.
Moving into this season, Sunderland knew that the expectations would be set high based on their previous performances.Embed from Getty Images
This did not deter them as they wanted to keep their hopes of promotion alive. The club has continued to grow, not only financially, but also in talent.
The passion that was seen in 2018/2019 season lived on as they prepared to take their training to the next level.
When this season started, they brought in new faces and continued to spark interest around the National League. They quickly established themselves as the top team in their division.
They would strive to remain at the top of the table for the remainder of the season.
Back in November, Ramshaw had an interview where she was asked what the best thing is about playing for Sunderland.
“Wearing the shirt has to be one of the best things for me. It has always been Sunderland for me,” Ramshaw said.
“The training facilities are amazing. We have a great backing from the club, families and supporters and it feels fantastic.”
Sunderland runs through her blood and she is the longest serving player at the club. This passion is displayed on and off the pitch.Embed from Getty Images
Ramshaw is now an inspiration for the younger players in the academy to keep Sunderland in high standards moving far beyond a season.
This mentality was probably something that has been ingrained in the players watching multiple England Lionesses come through the academy program.
To name a few Lucy Bronze, Jordan Nobbs and Jill Scott have all come through the Sunderland academy system, with Beth Mead also shining from a young age.
What can we reflect on?
Coming away with an unbeaten season, 13-0 deserves recognition. With this record, they were sitting on top of the table.
Not only were they on top, they an 11-point advantage over second-place Derby County. Even if the season would continue, Derby would have struggled to catch the runaway leaders.
High praise is due for Sunderland as they were solid in every match they played.
Starting early, the Black Cats seemed to have everything under control as they were able to put up numbers that didn’t seem possible in football.
The competition heated up as the Lasses took on Newcastle in a fully-fledged derby battle.Embed from Getty Images
Sunderland delighted as they defeated their cross-town rivals, 3-2, in order to secure their place in the next round of the FA Women’s National League Cup.
As the season went on, the Black Cats would thump their competitors in the Northern Premier Division and would continue to breeze through the FA WNL Cup and the FA Cup.
FA Cup run
It would not be until the winter months that the battle for promotion would be tough. As the fifth round of the FA Cup drew nearer, expectations didn’t appear to change.
With Birmingham City in their sight, winning was the only thing on their minds. Another close match as Sunderland fought hard. After the first half, the sides were evenly matched.
The hosts defended beautifully through the match, breaking up several attacks and scoring opportunities that the Blues had.
It was not until a late free-kick was given to former Sunderland player, Lucy Staniforth. She then put Birmingham ahead with eight minutes to go.Embed from Getty Images
Staniforth was sent off for her goal celebration but Sunderland continued to push hard for the remaining minutes.
Unfortunately, the outcome did not change, and the Black Cats were out of the FA Cup.
The Blues headed to the Cup quarterfinal while Sunderland would return back with every intention on winning the big league clash with Middlesbrough.
They realized that their FA Cup dreams had been disrupted but conquering the division was not going to stop.
This FA Cup shortcoming just fueled them more to focus on topping the table in their division.
Before the expungement
Sunderland would have some unforgettable moments that would raise the profile of the club.
These moments would move them closer and closer in clinching the Northern Premier Division title.
Ramshaw celebrated her 200th appearance for the club. What an amazing feat for someone who lives and breathes Sunderland.
Let’s not forget the strike that came against Sheffield FC from Faye Mullen. She curled to the ball right into the corner, putting the nail in the coffin and providing a 3-0 victory.
The manager Melanie Reay has now had 50 wins at Sunderland.
Lastly, Georgia Gibson celebrated her 50th appearance for the club following the match against Stoke City on March 15.
The season might have concluded unexpectedly but the dreams and pride that come from this club will not cease.
They’ve experienced setbacks before, and regardless of the fact that they happen more often than to other sides, they will once again rebound.
They will once again push for promotion and if this season is anything to go by, then they are good money for it.
Everyone in the league knows that they are champions. Everyone knows what they are capable of and nothing will stop Sunderland from keeping their promotion dreams alive.
The players, staff and supporters will continue to promote the amazing feats this club has been able to accomplish since it came into existence.
With everyone keeping their eyes open, one can bet that Sunderland will come into next season stronger and hungrier for advancement than before.