Sunderland Ladies booked their place in the FA Women’s National League Cup quarter-final with a comfortable 4-0 win at Chorley.
The Black Cats dominated but didn’t open the scoring until the 34th minute, when Maria Farrugia found the net. And two more would quickly follow, Keira Ramshaw struck before Farrugia doubled her tally before the break.
Bridget Galloway got her goal just after the hour mark to complete the scoring.
Melanie Reay made four changes from the Black Cats’ side that played Middlesbrough as captain Ramshaw made appearance number 194 to round out her first decade in red and white.
Charlotte Potts was first to hit the target, her powerful header from Farrugia’s corner was turned away by Rachel Darbyshire before Grace McCatty’s follow-up was cleared on the line.
Neve Herron had two shots within a couple of minutes, firing wide of the target before forcing a save from Darbyshire at the near post as she cut in from the left.
Darbyshire continued to deny the visitors, turning a well struck error from Farrugia over the bar.
Claudia Moan was forced into action, bravely diving at the feet of Bethany Donoghue to deny Chorley’s first dangerous attack.
Sunderland eventually found their breakthrough with a little more than half an hour played, Galloway did brilliantly to hold the ball up for Farrugia. The midfielder beat a defender and rounded the ‘keeper before finding the empty net.
And the second would follow quickly, Ramshaw produced a precise finish three minutes later. Her shot from outside the area found the bottom corner - career goal number 75 for the skipper.
Farrugia would double her tally with an unbelievable strike four minutes before half time. She perfectly found the top corner after a great passage of one touch play.
Galloway rarely stays out of the goals but Darbyshire denied her once again in the 53rd minute, saving at close range from the striker’s effort at the back post.
But 11 minutes later, she would get her goal with a touch of class. Georgia Gibson’s perfect, floated cross from the right found Galloway, who finished with a side footed volley at the back post.
Chances decreased as the game wound down. Moan made another great save at the near post to deny Donoghue, with Lambert, Potts and McCatty also making important challenges to hold the clean sheet.
Farrugia tried to beat one player too many as she looked to round off a perfect day with a hat-trick goal, unfortunately not getting her shot away after a great run.
Sunderland claim a home tie against Derby County in the League Cup quarter-final in the New Year, and finish 2019 with a record of 20 wins and four draws from 27 games.
Sunderland Ladies: Moan, Beer (Griffiths 74’), McCatty, Potts, Warren (Barker 46’), Lambert, Ramshaw, Farrugia, Gibson (Brown 64’), Herron, Galloway
Subs not used: Mullen, Woolston