Sunderland Ladies brushed aside Manchester City to reach the Quarter Final stage of the League Cup on Sunday.
The Lady Black Cats ran out 4-0 winners in the sunshine at the Hetton Centre and face a trip to Aston Villa in the next round. Beth Mead scored a brace while Sophie Williams and Kelly McDougall completed the scoring.
Sunderland started brightly and gained 2 quick corners which put the visitors under early pressure. Slack defending proved costly though as City broke quickly and as the home side struggled to clear skipper Steph Bannon stayed down as she made a challenge. The reliable defender was stretchered from the field and taken to hospital as Sunderland were forced to reshuffle. Kelly McDougall dropped into defence as Rachel Furness came on in the middle. The events seemed to disrupt the flow of Sunderland’s game as Manchester City started to enjoy a lot of possession as Jordan and Grocott had efforts beaten away.
The Wearsiders began to find their rhythm again and took the lead after 15 minutes. A quick break down the right saw Sophie Williams cross for Beth Mead to turn smartly and strike her shot in off the post. The visitors hardly had time to gather themselves before they conceded again a minute later. As the play switched across the field Williams picked it up on the right and her pace carried her beyond two defenders before she drove the ball across the keeper and into the far corner. Williams was causing havoc down the right with her pace as firstly she pulled the ball back for Mead to try her luck then she crossed for Nicloa Devine who saw her shot well saved. City had their moments too as Charlotte Farrell’s effort from 25 yards out went just over before Sunderland had a narrow escape. Hesitancy in the home defence let in Saffron Jordan who brilliantly lobbed the ball goal ward only to see the effort come back off the post. In the final action of the half Vicky Greenwell ran half the length of the field before pulling the ball back to Mead but her shot was well saved by Dani Brown.
Rachel Lee won the ball well in midfield before playing a great ball through for Williams and her cross caused panic in the City defence as it was scrambled away for a corner. As the flag kick came over from the left Furness powered a header in but it was cleared off the line. Soon after a McDougall free kick found the head of Natalie Gutteridge but her header went just over the bar. At the other end a quick break saw Grocott go clear but pull her shot narrowly wide. The Lady Black Cats extended their lead in the 60th minute when McDougall scored direct from a left wing corner despite the efforts of Brown to claw it away. The third goal settled the home side as they began to enjoy long periods of possession and it was no surprise when a fourth goal arrived in the 70th minute. A long clearance out of defence found the head of Gurreridge who directed it on for Mead to run clear and cleverly lob the advancing Brown. There were chances to increase the lead further with Mead scraping the post following a great through ball by Ellie Christon. Then Sarah McFadden saw her thunderbolt effort well saved by Brown before Gutteridge and McFadden again had shots beaten away at the death.
Full-Time: Sunderland WFC 4 vs 0 Manchester City LFC
Sunderland Line-up: Laws, Christon, Bannon(Furness), Wilson, Greenwell, Lee, McDougall, Gutteridge, Devine, Mead(McFadden), Williams(Atkinson).
Mick Mulhern said: .”It was a solid performance with some well taken goals. We were strong defensively and always looked threatening during our attacking play and you can’t ask for more than that. I’m delighted to be in another quarter final”.
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