Report: Lasses defeat Saints to reach National League final

Sunderland Ladies booked their place in the FAWNL Cup final with a narrow victory over Southampton at Eppleton Colliery Welfare.

Charlotte Potts headed the only goal just before the hour mark to send the Lasses into the showpiece against Stoke City on Sunday 19 April.

For a third game in a row, Melanie Reay named an unchanged line-up after good performances against Birmingham City and Middlesbrough.

It was a tight first half with chances limited, despite the hosts domination of possession. Neve Herron was the first to test Kayla Rendell in the Southampton goal after 20 minutes, with the ‘keeper catching the half volley.

Ella Pusey almost gave the visitors the lead with their first shot of proceedings. The striker's close range volley was superbly turned around the post by Claudia Moan. 

Moan was at it again moments later, tipping a long range effort from Rachel Panting onto the bar before Grace McCatty made an important challenge to clear the rebound.

Keira Ramshaw went closest for Sunderland, but her shot after some great work by Maria Farrugia in the build up was well held by Rendell.

McCatty had an opportunity to break the deadlock nine minutes after the restart, but her head from a Potts free-kick was straight at Rendell.

But the breakthrough would come just two minutes later. Georgia Gibson found Potts at the back post from a corner and the defender powerfully headed into the top corner to put the Black Cats ahead.

Pusey had a chance to level things, beating McCatty to the loose ball and lifting it over Moan, but she couldn’t get the ball to drop under the bar. 

Once again the hosts put in a measured defensive display, with the back four of Megan Beer, Louise Griffiths, Potts and McCatty holding firm as Southampton pushed on. 

Three games in a week started to show for Sunderland as the Saints started to see more of the ball, but they couldn’t convert their newly found spells of possession into opportunities.

Reay’s side managed the game in the final moments, sealing their place in the League Cup final and keeping the fight for a double alive as they head into a run of seven league games. 

Sunderland Ladies: Moan, Herron, Potts Griffiths, Ramshaw ©, Lambert, Galloway, Gibson, Beer, McCatty, Farrugia (Barker 68’)

Subs Not Used: Cowling, Mullen, Warren

Southampton Women: Rendell, E. Morris, Whitton (Sievwright 68’), Parnell, Freeland (Albuery 78’), Williams ©, Pusey, C. Morris, Ware (Pharoah 83’), Panting, Evans

Subs Not Used: Woods

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