How it played out as Sunderland Women fall to defeat at Manchester City in Continental League Cup match

Sunderland Women fell to a 3-0 away defeat to Manchester City in their second Continental League Cup group game.
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Julie Blakstad opened the scoring inside the opening ten minutes with a simple tap-in, with Hayley Raso doubling the lead early in the second half before Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw rounded off a comfortable afternoon for the Super League side.

Although the result and score line were as expected they didn’t tell the full story as the Black Cats did cause a few problems for their opponents – marshalled by familiar face Steph Houghton and including Euro 2022 winners Alex Greenwood and Ellie Roebuck – but causing an upset at the Academy Stadium was always going to be an uphill struggle.

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That hill grew steeper as City dominated possession from the off, with the breakthrough coming after eight minutes as Filippa Angedahl collected the ball from a corner and unselfishly squared to Blakstad who couldn’t miss from close range.

Brianna Westrup had Sunderland's best chanceBrianna Westrup had Sunderland's best chance
Brianna Westrup had Sunderland's best chance

The two almost delivered the hosts’ second with the next attack, which flew across the face of goal, as Sunderland stood firm and started to get a foothold. Brianna Westrup had their best chance, rising highest to meet Tyler Dodds’ corner but she headed high over the bar.

City were back down the other end in a flash, Raso breaking quickly down the right and firing in a dangerous cross that was just too far in front of Shaw and Blakstad. Esme Morgan then wasted a good chance when she nodded narrowly wide from a dangerous cross.

But shortly after the restart, City tightened their grip – Raso ran onto a long ball, broke through the Sunderland defence and calmly slotted past Claudia Moan.

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Before the hour two became three as Houghton threaded an inch perfect pass through to Shaw who made no mistake with a low finish.

Substitute Ruby Mace almost scored spectacular fourth, but her powerful shot flew just over the crossbar from 25 yards, before Raso had a goal disallowed for offside.

Head coach Mel Reay will take pride in her side refusing to let their heads drop – Neve Herron and Louise Griffiths summed up their dogged display as both made superb goal line clearances as City looked to add to their tally.

With the Continental Cup out of the way for now – it’s unlikely Sunderland will qualify for the knockout stages even with two games remaining – attention will turn to Sunday’s trip to Championship bottom side Coventry United where an overdue win will bring some much-needed festive cheer heading into the winter break.

Sunderland: Moan; Beer (Jessica Brown 46’), Herron, McCatty, Westrup (c), Griffiths; Dodds (Holmes 68’), McInnes (Kelly, 46’), Danielle Brown, Manders (Ede 68’); Gears.

Subs: Jardine, Scarr.