Women's Premier League: Sunderland top after Barnet win

By Tony LeightonWomen's football correspondent
Vicky Boardman and Natalie Clarke
Boardman scored Barnet's only goal in their defeat by Sunderland

Beth Mead struck twice as Sunderland won 4-1 at Barnet to go top of the Women's Premier League.

Two goals from the England Under-17's striker took her season's goal tally to 12 from 10 appearances.

Sunderland are ahead of Leeds United on goal difference after they beat previous leaders Coventry City 1-0.

Nottingham Forest held Cardiff City to a goalless draw despite having Chantelle Gallagher sent off, while Reading drew 1-1 at Charlton Athletic.

Barnet 1-4 Sunderland

Former England midfielder Kelly McDougall started the scoring for Sunderland with a 19th-minute penalty.

Vicky Boardman equalised with a well-struck 10-yard shot 12 minutes before half-time, but nine minutes after the break Mead fired the visitors back in front.

The 16-year-old striker added her second with a close range effort nine minutes from time.

Two minutes into stoppage time Keira Ramshaw completed a clear-cut victory for the Black Cats.

Coventry City 0-1 Leeds United

The Coventry woodwork prevented what would have been a more comprehensive win for Leeds, who nevertheless avenged their 1-0 home defeat by the Sky Blues.

Leah Galton hit both the post and the crossbar in the first half, though just before the break Coventry had a chance to take the lead from the penalty spot.

Midfielder Courtney Sweetman-Kirk had been brought down in the box, but striker Katy Ward's spot-kick hit the post.

The visitors went ahead 11 minutes into the second half, Hayley Sharp side-footing the ball home from close range.

Another Leeds goal always looked likely, but the closest they came was a late effort from Emma Johnson which bounced off the bar.

Nottingham Forest 0-0 Cardiff City

Midfielder Gallagher was sent off for retaliation just after the hour, setting up a frantic finale for the Forest defence.

Goalkeeper Claire Wallhead was outstanding, pulling off a string of fine saves as her back four battled to keep the Cardiff attack at bay.

The result kept Cardiff in the relegation zone, but they are only a point behind Forest with four games in hand.

Charlton Athletic 1-1 Reading

Despite goalmouth drama in the early stages of the second half, the mid-table battle ended in stalemate.

Charlton's Gemma Bryan had a penalty saved by goalkeeper Grace Moloney just after the interval.

The visitors then took a 63rd-minute lead through Nicola Watts, who raced clear of the home defence to slide the ball home.

But within 60 seconds the Addicks were level as midfielder Ellie Bailes turned a Felicity Gibbons cross over the line.

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