ASTON VILLA 2 SUNDERLAND 1
SUNDERLAND fell at their first hurdle in the Women’s FA Cup after being sunk by a stunning Aston Villa winner.
The third round tie at Sutton Coldfield appeared destined for extra-time with the scores tied at 1-1 at the end of normal time.
But Aston Villa won an injury time corner – their first of the second half – which sub Emily Owen volleyed in from 12 yards.
Sunderland had taken a 20th minute lead through Keira Ramshaw’s precise finish but their advantage lasted only 14 minutes when the unfortunate Abby Holmes put through her own net.
Carlton Fairweather’s side went into the game minus two of last season’s players, left-wing Sophie Williams and central midfielder Rachel Furness.
Despite that, the Lady Black Cats made a bright strart, Sarah McFadden showing up well in the middle and Holmes getting forward well from right-back.
The three most offensive-minded players, Mead, Abbey Joice and Ramshaw all looked lively.
Sunderland went close on 17 minutes when Ramshaw found Holmes who made a good run forward before Rebekah Bass shot over the top from insifde the bocx.
But it wasn’t long before Fairweather’s side were in front, good work by Mead teeing up Ramshaw who scored from 12 yards into the keeper’s right-hand corner.
Sunderland threatened again when Mead shot from an acute angle which Caitlin Leach could only gather at the second attempt.
Aston Villa had a slice of luck when they levelled in the 34th minute.
Full-back Hayley Crackle drove a long free-kick down field which Holmes could only fire past her own keeper.
After the break, Rachael Laws got down to save from Ferguson but after that the Lady Black Cats had the better of the play.
Mead stumbled as she went for goal in the 62nd minute while the striker’s long-range shot nine minutes later was juggled y Leach but the keeper clung on.
Jade Richards went just wide for Villa on 75 minutes but Sunderland, with subs Natalie Gutteridge and Emma Kelly on, appeared the most likely side to score.
Kelly McDougall fired over in the last minute after good work by Mead.
It looked as though that would be the final chance but Sunderland conceded a corner in the first seconds of stoppage time.
Sarah Mayling swung it over from the right and Owen made the sweetest of connections with her volley flying past Laws.
Sunderland: Laws, Holmes, Bannon, Sharp, Greenwell, McFadden, McDougall, Joice (Kelly 78), Ramshaw, Bass (Gutteridge 78), Mead.
Sub (not used): Black