Women's football: Beth Mead on target in Sunderland win

By Tony Leighton Women's football correspondent

England under-17 striker Beth Mead was on target as Sunderland beat Cardiff 2-0 to move three points clear at the top of the Women's Premier League.

Mead, the league's top scorer, made it 17 goals from 15 appearances before Steph Bannon hit a late clincher.

Second-placed Leeds United were not in action, but Charlton Athletic stayed third after a 0-0 draw with Barnet.

Rock-bottom Watford kept alive their slim hopes of survival with a 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest.

Sunderland 2-0 Cardiff City

Mead raced on to Kelly McDougall's 32nd-minute pass to put the Black Cats ahead, though she needed two attempts after goalkeeper Rhian Nokes blocked her first shot.

Nokes made a string of fine saves as the league leaders pressed for a second goal, while at the other end the Bluebirds were unable to muster a single shot on target.

The game was badly affected by a strong wind, but there were no complaints from Bannon after her long-range 80th minute free-kick was blown into the roof of the net.

The result left Cardiff third from bottom, but they have games in hand on every club currently sitting above them.

Charlton Athletic 0-0 Barnet

A tightly-fought encounter could have gone either way with both sides going close to scoring in the latter stages.

Cheryl Williams had a 20-yard shot tipped on to the cross-bar by Charlton goalkeeper Megan Lynch, then at the other end Gemma Bryan headed against the bar.

In the dying minutes Bryan was denied by keeper Cherie Rowlands' brilliant save, but Lynch did equally well to keep out a goalbound shot by Renata Innis.

Watford 2-0 Nottingham Forest

Megan Wynne headed home a Jo Wilson cross to give the Hornets a 14th minute lead.

Sarah Wiltshire doubled the advantage eight minutes before half-time, forcing the ball in from the rebound after her penalty had been saved by goalkeeper Claire Wallhead.

Forest pressed after the break but were unable to find the net and are now ahead of their opponents only on goal difference at the foot of the table.

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