Sunday 2 October 2022
Sunderland AFC Women v Liverpool FC Women
FA Women’s Continental League Cup Group B
Eppleton CW Ground, Hetton-le-Hole
Tickets and match coverage
Tickets: Adults £7, Over 65s £3.50, Under 16s £1. This game is included in Stadium of Light and Eppleton season cards. Book now or pay with a card on the gate.
Live coverage: if you can’t make it to the game you can follow along on @SAFCladies Twitter with a live stream of the match.
Podcast: Roker Report’s Lasses Podcast live on Twitter spaces at 8.30 - 9.30pm BST on Tuesday. Just go to @RRLasses to listen in.
Sunderland’s difficult start to the season doesn’t get any easier, with Group B of the League Cup kicking off with last season’s Championship winners Liverpool visiting Eppleton this morning.
A sense of injustice will remain from the 3-0 defeat in the league back in February, when Neve Herron was harshly dismissed for the lightest of touches on Katie Stengel’s shoulder. The result hardly reflected the flow of the game, and the England Under 19 international will be keen to demonstrate her quality if she is in the starting lineup.
The big news on Wearside this week came off the pitch with Libbi McInnes signing a new contract and the advertising of a range of new full time positions aimed at improving the club’s performance both on the field of play and in fan and commercial engagement.
Mel Reay has hinted that those players who’ve not been making the eleven so far will be given minutes today, so expect the likes of Allison Cowling, McInnes, Holly Manders, Katy Watson, Grace Ede, Megan Beer, Jessica Brown and Nicki Gears to be on the pitch at kick off.
Reay told the club’s website:
Whilst the league remains a priority, the Conti Cup is different this year with games being played on weekends rather than midweek.
We’ll rotate players, but we need to maintain a balance to support players who are maybe coming into the team – it’ll be a competitive team to give it a good go.
Sunderland will hopefully use this as an opportunity to play with freedom, safe in the knowledge that there’s no expectation of anything other than a win for Liverpool.
Ede in particular, who impressed in her debut in the corresponding fixture last season, could play a pivotal role.
Matt Beard’s Liverpool side are coming off the back of one glorious win and one stinging defeat in their two games since returning to the Women’s Super League.
In defeating the champions Chelsea on the opening day they emulated the feat Sunderland achieved against the Reds back in 2014. But last Sunday’s 3-0 loss to neighbors Everton at Anfield will have hurt, and they’ll be looking to bounce back today.
Beard, speaking to the press this week, also said he’d be looking to make the now customary Conti Cup changes to ensure his whole squad have had a run-out before the domestic game takes yet another hiatus:
This gives me the ideal opportunity to give minutes to players who haven’t played as many minutes as they would have liked so far.
Robey [Leighanne Robe], Eartha Cumings, Carla Humphrey, Charlotte Wardlaw and Furney [Rachel Furness] and Yana could get more minutes under their belt,” added Beard.
I see it as an opportunity now for shirts to be claimed. This cup game has come at the right time for us in the sense of balancing the minutes, especially with the international break.
Will Sunderland be on the receiving end of a hammering today? Last season we managed to hold them to a 0-0 draw and gain the extra point for the win on penalties in this competition, and our youngsters and fringe players will be looking to stake a claim for a place in the side for the next league game.
With Liverpool resting some of their big names and trialing some of their younger players, it could be a more even contest than the respective league positions may suggest.
(All venues, all competitions, including friendlies)
Played - 14
Sunderland Wins - 2
Draws - 3
Liverpool Wins - 9
Sunderland Goals - 10
Liverpool Goals - 36
Last Time Out in the Conti Cup
Wednesday 15 December 2021
Sunderland 0 - 0 Liverpool
Sunderland won 4-2 on penalties
One to watch... Carla Humphrey
A graduate of the Arsenal academy system, English attacking midfielder made the switch from Bristol City to Liverpool in 2021 and made eight appearances in their FAWC title-winning campaign last year. She’s represented England at every age group apart from the senior squad, and at 25 will be looking to take the opportunity of minutes on the pitch to stake a claim for a spot in the Liverpool starting line-up for the rest of the season.
Humphrey has, on the face of it, everything you’d need in a midfielder - she’s good on the ball, has a great delivery, and the energy to get up and down the pitch. We can expect her to battle against Neve Herron for possession in the middle of the park, and the winner of that contest could determine the direction of today’s game.