Ladies defeated in cup clash

by Claire Forrester

SAFC lose out to reigning champions.

Goals from Martha Harris and Natasha Dowie were enough to see last year’s WSL Champions Liverpool through to the quarter finals of the FA Women’s Cup.

Sunderland started brightly against a strong Liverpool side. Ten minutes in Beth Mead took a heavy challenge in the box but appeals for a penalty were dismissed.

The home defence were made to work hard as England internationals Natasha Dowie and Fara Williams both had chances in the first 20 minutes. At the other end Beth Mead and Abbey Joice linked up well to set up Kelly McDougall for a long range effort on goal that was narrowly over.

As half-time approached Liverpool increased the pressure on Sunderland, Martha Harris latched on to a poor clearance and calmly slotted the ball past Rachael Laws from close range.

Joice almost clawed one back for the home side on the stroke of half time as her fierce shot was tipped over the bar by the Liverpool keeper.

The Lady Black Cats started the second half as they ended the first, Keira Ramshaw beating goalkeeper Libby Stout to a through ball only to see her shot on goal cleared off the line by Liverpool captain Gemma Bonner.

It was another defensive lapse that allowed Liverpool their second, Gemma Davison beat her marker and her shot was tapped in from close range by Dowie to give Liverpool a 2-0 lead.

Rachel Furness, who had been a powerhouse in midfield, saw her curling shot from the edge of the box go just wide but for the last half hour of the match the home side posed little threat to the WSL1 side.

After the final whistle Claire Robinson admitted she was pleased with her side’s display, “We had a game plan to be difficult to break down and I can't fault the girls’ attitudes and effort. Liverpool are a good side and will no doubt be up there at the top of the WSL, we have a lot of positives to take from the game. We will now turn our attention to the first game of the WSL season on Thursday night at Durham.”

Sunderland: Rachael Laws; Megan Beer, Stephanie Bannon ©, Vicky Greenwell, Gemma Wilson; Kelly McDougall, Rachel Furness (Abby Holmes 82), Abbey Joice; Rebekah Bass (Emma Kelly 82), Keira Ramshaw (Tyler Dodds 82), Beth Mead.