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Women's Football News
Birmingham City claimed the FA WSL Development League Cup with a resounding 4-0 win over Sunderland at Stratford Town FC.
Two goals each for Cheryl Edwards and Charlie Wellings gave the Blues a convincing win, with a missed penalty the best of several chances to have added to the margin of victory.
The kick off was delayed by half an hour owing to travel difficulties for Sunderland and they fell behind within three minutes. Three further goals in the opening twenty minutes of the second half sealed the Black Cats' fate, though they battled hard but in vain for a late consolation.
Wellings burst clear of the Sunderland defence to shoot high into Alice Harkness' net to give Birmingham a dream start. Edwards then went close three times after clever runs, though none of her finishes were on target. Harkness made a brave save at the feet of Wellings before keeping her side only one goal in arrears right on the break by turning away an Anna Wilcox free kick from 30 yards, which looked destined for the bottom left corner.
The Blues' second was not long delayed however. On 47 minutes a route one goal was set up by keeper Sian Rogers' clearance, a neat flicked header by Wellings and a crisp low drive from Edwards.
Roles were reversed for the third, Edwards chasing down a through ball and challenging the keeper, the ball rebounding to Wellings for a composed finish on 57 minutes.
Emily Simpkins won a penalty for Blues two minutes later as she was upended when about to shoot, but Wellings' spot kick was too close to Harkness, who held on well. The Sunderland keeper then saved well from Coral Haines but was beaten again on 65 minutes, despite doing well to block Edwards' initial shot.
Wellings was again denied her hat-trick on 67 minutes, a deflection carrying her shot inches wide of the far post. Simpkins and Haines also went close but Sunderland's hard pressed defence held firm for the rest of the match. Indeed. livened up by their two outfield substitutes, they managed to mount some concerted pressure on the Birmingham goal, winning a couple of corners and asking questions of the Blues defence as the match moved into added time.
The Birmingham performance was very much a team effort, defence and midfield never giving Sunderland an easy time, but it is hard not to highlight the pace and clever movement of the two scorers which was simply too good for the Sunderland back four in a sparkling display in front of 270 spectators.
Birmingham City: Sian Rogers, Ashlee Brown, Sian Johnson, Chloe Peplow, Anna Wilcox, Rebecca Lloyd, Danae Kaleridou, Emily Simpkins, Charlie Wellings, Coral Haines, Cheryl Edwards. Subs: Jaymee Dudley, Millie Fugler, Poppy Jones, Lia Lewis, Iszora Rageh.
Sunderland: Alice Harkness, Megan Beer, Ellie Dobson, Tyler Dodds, Shannon Etherington, Rhiannon Gray, Maddie Hill, Rebecca Olley, Charlotte Potts, Jess Hennessy, Carla Armstrong. Subs: Grace Donnelly, Chloe Johnson, Lindsay McCubbin.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Ashlee Brown tries to close down Rebecca Olley
(middle) Shannon Etherington is held off by Coral Haines
(bottom) The victorious Birmingham City side
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