Madison Perry’s second-half strike gave Reading a crucial 1-0 win against 10-player Sunderland. 

Louise Griffiths was shown a straight red card for a pull in the 35th minute but the Lasses stood firm until deep in the second half. 

Perry took advantage of poor Sunderland defending to fire Reading to three points and their first Barclays Women’s Championship win since October. 

The hosts had the best of the opening exchanges at the Select Car Leasing Stadium as Charlie Estcourt’s effort from the edge of the box dipped just over the bar. 

Estcourt was then found by Charlie Wellings as she got behind the Sunderland defence, but her cross did not find a Reading player in the box. 

Griffiths saw red with 10 minutes of the first half still to play as she was sent off for pulling the hair of Bethan Roberts. 

With seconds of the first half remaining, Sunderland shot-stopper Claudia Moan was called into action for the first time as she produced an incredible triple save. 

Sunderland boss Mel Reay made three substitutes at half-time, with two of them, Liz Ejupi and Jenna Dear, linking up as Dear’s shot was pushed wide by Moan. 

The two combined again as Dear fed Ejupi, but the Kosovan international could not direct her half-volley on target. 

Eventually, the player advantage told as Perry benefited from Sunderland’s failure to clear a ball into the box as she fired into the far corner. 

The game petered out as Sunderland missed the chance to keep pace with leaders Charlton Athletic. 

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