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Women's Football News
F.A.Women's Cup - Road to the Final
Middlesbrough ended the Cup run of fellow Northern Combination side Huddersfield Town with a 4-1 victory in the Second Round. Jess Round scored twice, with Danielle Scarr and Sarah Manning adding the other goals to help land Gemma Grainger's side the plum draw of the next round, against Premier League Champions Sunderland.
Sunderland Women were formed 14 years ago when East Durham Houghall Kestrels and Sunderland Ladies combined to come under the umbrella of 'Sunderland Women'. Prior to this their roots lay in Tyneside with Blyth Spartans Kestrels. Since the merger, Sunderland have consistently performed to a very high standard and have played four seasons in the Northern Division and six seasons in the National Division.
In the seasons 2002-03 and 2003-04, Sunderland finished runners-up in the Northern Division, only just missing promotion on both occasions. However the following season saw Sunderland secure promotion, winning the Northern Division by six clear points. For the first time in their history they reached the quarter finals of the FA Women's Cup, only losing to a strong Charlton team in the last few minutes of the game. In 2006-07 Sunderland were relegated to the Northern Division and lost some of their international players but they returned two years later as Champions whilst also reaching the FA Women's Cup Final, losing 2-1 to Arsenal at Pride Park.
In the last two seasons, Sunderland have carried off the Premier League title and added the Premier League Cup to their trophy cabinet last year, beating Leeds 2-1 in the Final at Northampton.
This season they lead the way in the National Division once more under the guidance of Mick Mulhern, twice FA Manager of the Year and the longest serving manager in the Premier League. Steph Bannon has captained the team since she was 18 and Gemma Wilson, although only 25, is the longest serving player. Striker Beth Mead is one of the hottest young properties in the women's game, she was the league's top scorer last season and heads the charts again this time around, and she forms a good strike force with Natalie Gutteridge and talented winger Sophie Williams.
Behind the scenes, Chairman Maurice Alderson has taken the club from strength to strength in his seven years at the helm and Susan Bannon undertakes the role of secretary.
The match will be played at Thornaby FC and Sunderland will start as overwhelming favourites, although Middlesbrough are sure to be ready for what for them is a special derby match.
Middlesbrough (from): Ashleigh Coyle, Jenny Dixon, Amy Griffiths, Clare Helm, Ebony Housam, Becky Langley, Samantha Leigh, Sarah Manning, Sophie Matthews, Jasmine McNaught, Emily Newton, Rebecca Norman, Evie Robinson, Jess Round, Danielle Scarr, Emily Scott, Jessica Tait, Laura Wilson, Suzy Winn, Anna Young.
Sunderland (from): Helen Alderson, Abby Holmes, Vicky Greenwell, Steph Bannon, Gemma Wilson, Rachel Furness, Sarah McFadden, Kelly McDougall, Beth Mead, Natalie Gutteridge, Sophie Williams, Keira Ramshaw, Rachael Laws, Jordan Atkinson, Becky Salicki, Hannah Caldwell, Ellie Christon, Robin Chidester, Abbey Joice, Ruth Sutcliffe.
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