Sunderland’s Continental Tyres Cup hopes suffered a serious setback when they lost at Liverpool tonight.
Manchester City and the Reds will occupy the top two spots in the group and now the Lady Black Cats must beat Donacaster Rovers on Sunday and hope they can sneak into the quarter-finals as one of the best third-placed sides.
Sunderland were never really at the races in Liverpool, going down to a Natasha Dowie header on the hour and Katrin Omarsdottir’s 89th-minute clincher.
The opening 45 minutes was all-Liverpool.
It started badly when Tori Williams and Gemma Wilson collided in the opening seconds and while Wilson could continue after treatment, Williams hobbled off in the seventh minute.
Vicky Greenwell came on at left-back and had plenty of work to do as Liverpool launched attack after attack.
The Reds loved to stick crosses in and Natasha Dowie headed wide in the 13th minute and Abby Holmes made a tremendous clearance from her six-yard box afdter Ashley Hodson crossed to Dowie.
Hilde Olsen then came out smartly to collect as Katie Zelem raced into the box as Sunderland.
The Lady Black Cats had little of the ball though they threatened briefly when Beth Mead almost got through only for Becky Easton to get in first and concede a corner.
But normal service soon resumed when Dowie hit the bar from Gemma Bonner’s ball.
Wilson was the next player to come to the Cats rescue, puttin in a magnificent defensive tackle on Rosie White.
Dowie had another gilt-edged chance to break the deadlock in the 38th minute when she headed over unmarked from Kate Longhurst’s cross.
White was the next player to go over the bar rather than under it while, in injury time, Omarsdottir’s weak free-kick was deflected out for a corner.
Half-time: Liverpool 0 Sunderland 0
There was some excitement finally for Sunderland soon after the re-start with McFadden and Mead having shots blocked in the home area.
Sunderland were very much off colour and Greenwell inadvertantly set up Dowie with a mis-directed header but Olsen thankfully saved low to her left.
The Norwegian repeated the feat three minutes later from a powerful Martha Harris shot after a slick Reds move.
But a home goal was inevitable, DOWIE heading in White’s corner from the left side on the hour.
Carlton Fairweather made a double change, withdrawing Kelly McDougall and Keira Ramshaw and sending on Rachel Furness and Abbey Joice.
Sunderland were much brighter after the arrival of Furness and Joice, with Brooke Chaplen firing wide after 66 minutes from outside the area.
It took until the 83rd minute for the Cats to put their best move of the match together, only for Chaplen to shoot high over from 21 yards at the end of it.
But the away side were denied a leveller five minutes from time when Mead’s blistering drive from the left was turned over by Libby Stout’s acrobatic save.
Sunderland forced three corners in quick succession but could not find the net.
And when they conceded a needless late corner at their own end, Liverpool clinched the victory.
Dowie and Bonner combined to open up the Cats defence and OMARSDOTTIR finished it off.
Full-time: Liverpool 2 Sunderland 0
Liverpool: Stout, Harris, Bonner, Easton, Pacheco, Omarsdottir, Zelem (Smorsgad 65), Longhurst (Murray 75), White, Hodson (Ryland 89), Dowie
Unused subs: Darbyshire, Dale
Goals: Dowie 60, Omarsdottir 89
Booked: Longhurst 16, Bonner 72
Sunderland: Olsen, Holmes, Bannon, Wilson, T Williams (Greenwell 7), Ramshaw (Joice 61), McDougall (Furness 61), McFadden, Chaplen, Roche, Mead
Unused subs: Laws Beer
Booked: Wilson 75
Referee: P Gibbons