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Match report: Sunderland women 1-2 Manchester United Women

by Zoe Hodges

Manchester United Women have beaten Sunderland 2-1 in the FA Cup.

Sunderland made a strong and physical start to the game, pushing forward and making some good challenges.

Despite Sunderland’s energy, United did get an early shot off from Parris but she was flagged offside.

Blundell went on a fantastic run, dodging the Sunderland midfielders that looked to make a challenge. She fed it through to Williams on the edge of the area but one on one with the keeper, she couldn’t chip it over the shot-stopper. It went up in the air and Toone tried to head it in but it landed on the roof of the net.

United were growing into this game and had a number of opportunities from a corner as Toone took a shot that was well blocked followed by Williams but again Sunderland put their bodies on the line to deny the visitors.

United were wondering how on earth they hadn’t broken the deadlock as the pressure they kept up was relentless. They had chance after chance around the 28 minute mark but no one could bundle it over the line as Sunderland again made some crucial blocks.

In the 39th minute Parris made the breakthrough that was needed. A cross floated in from Batlle and Parris waiting centrally in the box hit a side footed volley past the keeper.

On the stroke of half-time, an opportunity presented itself to Toone but unfortunately the keeper saved and managed to pounce on the loose ball before United could turn it in.

United showed more attacking intent in the second half but it looked like it may be another frustrating half of missed opportunities.

A chance came for Williams following a short corner from United but her header was just wide.

Another attempt from United saw some brilliant link up play to penetrate Sunderland’s defensive line but the resulting shot was tame and straight at the keeper.

Completely against the run of play, Sunderland equalised from a corner. They crowded out Earps and managed to head it into the net.

United responded instantly, Nikita Parris again, found herself in a prime position in the six yard box and fired it high into the back of the net, assisted by Boe Risa.

Cascarino was introduced for her United debut just before the Reds’ second goal and almost made an instant impact as she had the chance to get a shot away but it curled just wide.

Cascarino had another chance four minutes from time as she received the ball in space in the area but she blasted it over the bar. In a moment that highlighted the differences in women’s football and in the two teams positions in the football league, the ball was lost as it landed on the roof of a bungalow and bounced off into the garden of a neighbouring house.

United didn’t make it easy but it was a good win for them to progress in the FA Cup. A glimpse of Cascarino shows that she may have a very promising future with the Reds.

Team: Earps, Batlle, Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell, Toone, Boe Risa, Zelem, Parris (Garcia 82), Thomas (Cascarino 68), Williams

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