Sunderland boss delivers honest verdict as title dream ends . . .
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Sunderland boss delivers honest verdict as title dream ends in defeat.

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Mel Reay feels her Sunderland team has performed admirably this season, but the predominant sensation is disappointment after their title dream came to an end on Sunday afternoon.

The Black Cats entered the penultimate game of their season two points behind league leaders Crystal Palace, whom they meet at Selhurst Park next Saturday. Sunderland needed a result against Charlton after Palace beat Lewes, but they lost 1-0 thanks to Kayleigh Barton’s strike on the hour mark.

Reay described her team’s campaign as a “monumental achievement,” but admitted that they needed to learn from their dismal result at Eppleton.

“I think they were maybe the better team overall, and I don’t think there was much in the game,” Reay told BBC Newcastle.

“I think that’s how we knew we were going to pan out. Claudia has made one or two saves but ultimately we haven’t tested their goalkeeper enough and you’re not going to score and win games if you don’t do that.

“They maybe edged it but I was disappointed mostly with our in-possession work, maybe it was a bit of stage fright with the nerves and the pressure. They can only learn from that experience if they want to be on the big stage with the crowd and the coverage, we’ve got to be brave in these moments and play football. Charlton are a stern defence, as are we. They probably put us under more pressure than we did them until the last 30 minutes when we made the substitutions, and we started to have a go and you want to do that from the beginning. We’re disappointed that we’ve fallen to a defeat, so we just have to go to Crystal Palace and try and spoil the party next week.

“We’ve done brilliant, to be up there with challenging with two games to go is a monumental effort from everyone involved. I’m sure we’ll reflect and be proud of what we’ve achieved, but at this moment in time it’s just disappointment that we couldn’t take it to the final game.”

Palace’s victory over Lewes means the latter has been demoted from the Championship, leaving Sunderland, Durham, and Newcastle United to compete in the second division next season.

 

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