Women lose their FA Cup game at Sunderland. Full time report
There will be no repeat of last season's excellent FA Women's Cup run as the Oxford United Women were sent crashing out at the first hurdle by a strong Sunderland side on Sunday. The 5-1 scoreline was harsh on United, who had looked the better side for spells but were undone by a clinical display from the home side.
The hosts started brightly and began putting the United defence under immediate pressure. Abby Joice fired off an early warning shot, striking low after finding space in the box but straight into the arms of United keeper Demi Lambourne, who did well to hold on to the effort. But Sunderland wouldn't be denied for long and the Black Cats did take the lead from a corner after 11 minutes. A floated delivery towards the back post was spilled by Lambourne straight into the path of Rachel Furness and the midfielder made no mistake as she poked home.
The lead was doubled before the half-hour mark when Rebekah Bass latched onto a pinpoint defence-splitting pass before firing past the helpless Lambourne. Returning striker Lauren Allison then missed a glorious opportunity to reduce the deficit for United, darting through the home side's defence and rounding the goalkeeper before rolling the ball just wide from a narrow angle.
The U's were growing into the game and deservedly pulled one back after 34 minutes. Sahara Osborne-Ricketts curled in a beautiful free-kick to the far post and debutant Louise Fellows lost her marker to volley in.
For a while it appeared Oxford could level before the break but they were again undone from a corner. Furness stooped to meet a the low cross, heading in her second of the afternoon and restoring Sunderland's two-goal lead. Any hopes United had of coming back in the second half were dealt an early blow as just two minutes after the restart Joice netted her second. Spotting Lambourne off her line she unleashed an unstoppable 35-yard effort which looped into the net.
The visitors dominated possession throughout the rest of the half but had little to show for their efforts as their promising approach play was without that killer final ball.
Things would get no better as captain Osbourne-Ricketts was dismissed for a second yellow following a late challenge. And United were immediately made to pay as Sunderland made the most of the extra space, Beth Mead during in the fifth from the edge of the area.
The 5-1 scoreline was harsh on United, who deserve credit for aspects of their performance but that spells the end of our involvement in the cup for another season.