Sunderland Ladies crashed out of the League Cup at the semi final stage against a well disciplined Leeds side who simply didn�t let the holders settle. Injuries and international call ups led to an under strength Sunderland side facing the wrong end of a 4-1 result. Two super strikes gave Leeds the early advantage before Jordan Atkinson reduced the arrears. As the Wearsiders pushed for an equaliser they were caught with two late goals in the last couple of minutes to send Leeds into the final with a rather flattering score line.
The early exchanges were cautious as both sides probed for weaknesses. Sarah McFadden played a great ball through for Sophie Williams to run on to and her effort on goal was gathered at the second attempt by Leeds keeper Draycott. A ball over the top caught the Sunderland defence on the hop but keeper Rachael Laws was out quickly to clear the danger. Jordan Atkinson won the ball and made ground down the right and her dangerous cross was scrambled out for a corner.
The deadlock was broken in the 20th minute when Sunderland gave possession away in midfield and Rachel Lee played it through for Tanya Rich to hit a great strike from a narrow angle which went in at the near post. Sunderland hardly had time to gather their thoughts before Leeds grabbed another. A quick break down the right was played inside for Danielle Sheen to hit a superb half volley from 25 yards which nestled in the top corner. Sunderland were having lots of possession but were struggling to find their rhythm as Williams saw an effort drop just over the bar. The arrears were reduced after 32 minutes however following a right wing corner. As the ball came in Leeds struggled to clear and Jordan Atkinson reacted quickly to turn the ball home from close in. Good link up play between Ramshaw and Joice resulted in a McFadden strike being well held by Draycott as Sunderland stepped up a gear.
Sunderland WFC 1 vs 2 Leeds Utd LFC
Ramshaw and Joice again linked well to set up Williams but her low drive was hacked clear. A defensive slip allowed Leeds to break but Sheen saw her effort turned away by Laws. Another great ball through from McFadden saw Draycott collect well under pressure from Williams who went down following the collision and had to be replaced. Sunderland were finding it hard to break down a stubborn and well organised Leeds team who were always quick to get forward as Sheen went clear but her clever chip dropped just over. With the Wearsiders pushing forward at every opportunity gaps appeared at the back as again Sheen tried her luck from distance but it travelled wide. Efforts from McFadden and Joice went close and just as it seemed an equaliser was inevitable a dreadful cross field pass fell perfectly for the unmarked Abigail Lee who had the simple task of slotting into an empty net with just two minutes remaining. As heads dropped Leeds gained an injury time corner and Emma Lipman out jumped the Sunderland defence to head home the fourth.
Sunderland WFC 1 vs 4 Leeds Utd LFC
Sunderland...Laws, Beer, Bannon, Wilson, Greenwell, Atkinson(McDougall), Salicki, Joice(Sutcliffe), McFadden, Ramshaw, Williams(Hall).
Subs (not used)...Alderson, Holmes.
A disappointed Mick Mulhern spoke after the game...� Silly errors led to the first three Leeds goals as all were avoidable. they must have thought Christmas had come early. The score wasn�t a true reflection on the game at all and the last goal was just down to us chasing the game in the final minutes. Although we dominated possession our decision making on the ball and movement off the ball was poor and we weren't really a threat in the second half. Leeds had something to hang onto and sadly we didn�t do enough to win the game. Hopefully my players can learn a big lesson from the pain they'll be feeling tonight.�