SUNDERLAND Ladies’ suffered a Continental Cup mauling at Liverpool on Saturday.
England striker Natasha Dowie hit a hat-trick, with Gemma Davidson, Corina Schroder and Katrin Omarsdottir also scoring.
It was all over by half-time by which thime the reigning Super League champions were 4-0 up.
Sunderland assistant boss Melanie Reay admitted her side was way off the pace.
“Overall we worked hard but it wasn’t anywhere near the required standard,” she said.
“Tactically we made some changes and pinpointed areas we needed to improve in, but they knew that the first-half just wasn’t good enough or acceptable.
“All we can take from it is a massive learning curve and go back to our league campaign and focus on getting promoted to play against quality teams like Liverpool week-in, week-out,” said Rey.
“We’ve got one more game to come with Doncaster Belles in the Continental Cup (a week on Thursday) and we’ve got a good 12 days off now – so we’ll regroup, train hard and try and get back that momentum that we had.”
Liverpool seized the initiative within five minutes as Davidson picked up the ball in the Sunderland half before unleashing a 25-yard strike beyond Helen Alderson.
On 20 minutes, Dowie breezed through Sunderland’s back-line and crossed for Schroder to score into an empty net, and just a minute later it was 3-0 as Dowie turned home Fara Williams’ corner.
It was Williams again providing the killer pass as this time she rolled the ball to Dowie on the edge of the area, and she unleashed a powerful strike that went in off the underside of the bar.
Sunderland, who were on a four-match winning streak, were far more organised in the second half and Beth Mead would have got a goal back if it weren’t for Gemma Bonner’s well-timed tackle.
Any remaining Sunderland resolve was extinguished on 62 minutes, however, as Williams played it long to Dowie, who volleyed across Alderson for her hat-trick.
Omarsdottir then added a sixth late on, somehow managing to bundle in Amanda Da Costa’s low cross under pressure from Gemma Wilson.
Liverpool: Gibbons, Easton (Stewart 79), Bronze, Bonner, Schroder (Alexander 65), Davidson, Da Costa, Williams, Walker (Hodson 75), Dowie, Omarsdottir. Subs (not used): Dale, Harris, Sout.
Sunderland: Alderson, Beer (Holmes 70), Bannon, Wilson, Greenwell, McDougall, Bass, Ramshaw, Kelly (McHugh 65), Joice, Mead. Subs (not used): Furness. Bookings: Bannon.
Durham Women slipped to a sixth straight defeat against Doncaster Rovers Belles, losing 3-1 at New Ferens Park.
Doncaster arrived in Durham for their Continental Cup clash with a 100 per cent record this season and penalties from Sue Smith and Jess Sigsworth, either side of Emma Johnson’s side, ensured that record maintained.
Captain Caroline Dixon did reply for the home side but it couldn’t stop them from slipping to another defeat as they sit pointless in both Group Two of the Continental Cup and WSL2.
The FA Women’s Super League has been newly expanded to two leagues for 2014. To watch all 18 clubs live in action buy tickets here: http://www.ticketstores.co.uk/fawsl