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Sunderland v Aston Villa - Continental Cup

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Lasses Match Report: Sunderland put to the sword by classy Villa

An unexpectedly strong Aston Villa lineup, including a number of senior international player, took the brave Lasses of Sunderland apart on Sunday afternoon. Here’s Graeme’s take on the game.

Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Women’s Super League side Aston Villa were the visitors to Eppleton in the Continental Cup on Sunday lunchtime to take on Sunderland Ladies in a match that demonstrated the gulf between the professional and semi-professional game in England.

Work commitments and injuries significantly weakened Sunderland’s starting eleven and left them with only three outfield subs.

The game was barely a minute old when Laura Brown opened the scoring with a looping cross that evaded Claudia Moan and dropped in off the far post. Sunderland were finding it difficult to get to grips with the opposition and the awful conditions.

Villa then doubled their lead with a neat finish from Ramona Petzelberger with 10 minutes on the clock. The visitors were dominating possession and it came as no surprise when they added a third after 43 minutes, a close range finish from captain Remi Allen following a corner. Going into the break 3-0 down, Sunderland had a lot of work to do to get anything out of the game.

Sunderland v Aston Villa - Continental Cup
Alisha Lehmann of Aston Villa scores during the the Continental Cup match between Sunderland and Aston Villa at Eppleton CW, Hetton on Sunday 5th December 2021.
Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Villa started the second half having made three changes from their eight-strong bench, with Asante, Gielnik and Littlejohn making way for Arthur, Boye-Hlorkah, and Ewers. Sunderland opted to keep things the same as the first half, and despite our best efforts, ultimately, with the same result.

After 48 minutes the immense Herron headed off the line. Not long after Manders had a rasping effort rocket just over the bar. The visitors however were looking dangerous every time they came forward. After 64 minutes Grace Ede entered the action replacing the hardworking Scarr, who’d tired after a difficult week.

Villa scored a very well worked goal through the dangerous Lehmann. The same player then nodded home a fifth on 79 minutes on a wet and miserable afternoon in Hetton.

The talented Boye-Hlorkah added a sixth after 83 minutes. The score line looking harsh on a depleted but enterprising lasses side.

The spirits of the crowd was lifted though when 16 year old Daisy Burt made her senior debut for Sunderland, replacing Manders. What a moment for the youngster and her family, albeit in the most challenging game of the Lasses season so far.

Sunderland v Aston Villa - Continental Cup Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Late on Villa scored a seventh to send their supporters home happy (and wet) after their weekend on Wearside. Sunderland on the other hand had a very difficult afternoon against a top flight side.

The midlanders were thoroughly professional in their approach to the game, and although there were players missing from the Sunderland side and team worked incredibly hard, they struggled to create many chances against superior opposition.

The excellent Potts did hit the outside of the post in the second half, but the Villa keeper was relatively untroubled throughout the game.

Final Score: Sunderland 0-7 Aston Villa

Sunderland’s season won’t be defined by games against professional WSL sides in the third-order competition that is the League Cup. This campaign be about continuing to show they’re an emerging Championship outfit after their step up to the second tier in the summer.

With the second half of the season to come and another outing in this competition to play against Liverpool before Christmas, the Lasses can’t let this one get them down. And it was also good to see captain Keys up and about and doing her bit for charity too before the game!


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