Sunderland Ladies 4 Watford Ladies 1

Strong performance sees ladies through to next round.

Sunderland Ladies produced another convincing performance to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup, beating fellow WSL 2 side Watford.


Sunderland Ladies produced a scintillating first half performance, racing into a four-goal lead that the visitors never really looked likely to recover from. Gemma Wilson gave the home side the lead, with Abbey Joice and a Beth Mead double securing the win.

After a tentative start, the Wearsiders stepped up their game and ripped Watford apart in a devastating nine-minute spell. A Kelly McDougall corner was met by Wilson, who powered in at the far post to head firmly past the helpless Shayla Burgess in the Watford goal and give the home side the lead in the 20th minute.

Just seven minutes later McDougall broke quickly from a deep position and cleverly switched play to release Mead, who smashed home from the edge of the box. 

Watford had no time to recover as they fell further behind just two minutes later. Rachel Furness, a real powerhouse in the middle, linked well with McDougall to release Joice, who jinked her way past two defenders to drive a low shot beyond Burgess into the bottom corner.

Sunderland appeared to have put the game beyond doubt as they grabbed a fourth goal in the 43rd minute. Great work between Furness, Keira Ramshaw and Rebekah Bass saw the ball played into the danger area, and the ever-alert Mead pounced to score from close range.

After the break the visitors rallied and put the home side under pressure. Helen Alderson in the Sunderland goal was forced into a couple of good saves in quick succession to deny Sarah Wiltshire.

However, Watford’s pressure paid off and they reduced the arrears after 54 minutes. Wiltshire’s effort was beaten away but fell kindly to Kate Natkiel, whose shot took a deflection to wrong-foot Alderson and creep in at the far post.

A quick Watford break almost caught the home side out as the ball reached Wiltshire who poked it narrowly wide. Furness, Ramshaw and McDougall went close for Sunderland before Watford’s Mosengo powered her way through only to be halted by a great tackle from Wilson as she closed in on goal.

Another Watford break saw Bannon halt the dangerous Wiltshire as she shaped to shoot, while Beckett and Wiltshire saw further efforts beaten away before Mosengo missed Watford’s best chance when she headed wide at the far post.

Watford continued to battle but the damage had been done and Sunderland comfortably saw out time and secured their place in the fifth-round draw.

Sunderland: Alderson, Beer (Holmes), Bannon, Wilson, Greenwell, Bass, Joice, Furness, McDougall, Ramshaw (McHugh), Mead.