Ladies Football: Keynsham Town blown away by five-star Sunderland Women

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SUNDERLAND Women brushed aside Keynsham Town to move smoothly into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

The visitors started well against the Southern Division side and took the lead in the third minute from the penalty spot.

Beth Mead broke into the penalty area, but was tripped as she prepared to shoot. Kelly McDougall stepped up to slot home from the spot, to give the National Division leaders the ideal start.

The visitors continued to press forward and a sweeping move saw Steph Bannon set Sophie Williams clear down the wing. Her cross was laid off by Mead, who crossed for Natalie Gutteridge, who crashed home a superb half volley from 25 yards.

Keynsham were rocked by the goal, but fought back and started to put the Sunderland defence under pressure. In the 15th minute, a speculative ball into the box was only partially dealt with by keeper Rachael Laws and after a scramble, Becky Salicki finally cleared the danger.

The home side again went close soon after when the ball broke to Polly Wardle, who saw her volley rattle the post.

This seemed to spark the Wearsiders back to life and they extended their lead in the 25th minute. Another sweeping move from back to front saw Bannon, Gemma Wilson and Nicola Devine combine to play in Williams, and her cross was turned home by Mead.

Keynsham gave themselves some hope as they grabbed a goal in the 34th minute following some sloppy play by Sunderland. McDougall’s loose pass was picked up in the middle and quickly played forward for Naomi Clipston to calmly slot home.

The Lady Black Cats got the second half under way and looked determined to up the tempo. They went close to stretching their lead from a Williams free-kick, but the referee spotted pushing in the box.

From a Keynsham corner, Laws collided with team-mate Rachel Lee and went down injured. The ball was heading goalwards, but Williams was on hand to clear at the back post.

Sunderland’s second half performance was much more disciplined with long spells of possession. An hour into the game, Lee won a brave header on the halfway line and took a nasty knock in the face. The referee however played the advantage, but Mead’s lob dropped just wide.

As Sunderland pressed forward, a fine move between Bannon and Mead saw a goalbound effort blocked, but the rebound fell kindly for Mead to fire home Sunderland’s fourth goal in the 62nd minute.

As the home side began to tire, the visitors began to explore the gaps and added a fifth goal in the 87th minute.

Lee sprayed the ball wide to Robyn Chidester, who crossed for Jordan Atkinson to powerfully slot the ball home.

Manager Mick Mulhern said: “It was a real test today against a team in form, but we were very strong defensively and took our chances. I’m delighted to be in the quarter-finals for the second year running.”

Sunderland: Laws, Salicki, Bannon, Wilson, Devine, Ramshaw (Chidester), McDougall, Lee, Gutteridge, Williams, Mead (Atkinson), Subs: McFadden, Greenwell, Furness.