Sunderland boss listens to Black Cats' promotion on BBC radio

Sunderland clinched promotion to the top flight of the Women's Super League on the last day of the season.
Sunderland clinched promotion to the top flight of the Women's Super League on the last day of the season.

Sunderland won the Women's Super League second division title by beating Millwall Lionesses on Sunday, but their manager Mick Mulhern had to listen on BBC radio because of his work commitments as a police officer.

The Black Cats won the game, their last of the season, 4-0 but Wearside officer Mulhern was unable to travel to London.

"I listened to the game on BBC 5 live sports extra," said Mulhern.

"I was in constant contact with the coaching staff on the bench."

Victory was essential for Sunderland as Doncaster Belles - two points below them but with a far better goal difference - thrashed London Bees 9-0.

"I knew Donny would give the Bees a hiding," added Mulhern, "so I told the players in our last pre-match meeting to simply focus on getting three points."

For an hour of the game it was tense as Mulhern's team could muster only a one-goal lead while Donny had already hit the net six times.

Kelly McDougall scored the opener to put Sunderland on the way to a 4-0 win at Millwall
Kelly McDougall scored the opener to put Sunderland on the way to a 4-0 win at Millwall

But three goals in a five-minute burst ended Millwall's resistance and began Sunderland's run-in to securing top-flight status.

"I was always confident we would win by three or four goals," said Mulhern. "The girls were patient, stuck to the game plan and won us a deserved promotion.

"That's seven titles we've won in the 15 years I've been in charge and this is the best of the lot, because it's puts us where we want to be.

"We'll enjoy the moment, but I'm already looking forward to sending my team out against the best sides in the country."

Mulhern is the English women's game's longest serving manager while his opposite number Gordon Staniforth has been Doncaster boss for just one season.

And although it has ended in disappointment, the former professional footballer will take lots of positives into his second campaign as Donny continue their quest to regain their place in the top flight after relegation last season.

"I said when I came into the job that I would try my best to lead the club to promotion in two years," said Staniforth.

"The players have given their all and we've gone close to achieving the aim in this first season, but we'll redouble our efforts next year to make sure we get back to where I believe this club should be."

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