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Sunderland 1 (Wilson 23) Manchester City 3 (Parris 11, Houghton 15, Duggan pen 90)
Sunderland slipped to their first Continental Tyres Cup defeat at home to Manchester City Women.
Having won their first two group games, the Lady Black Cats fell behind to two early goals from Nikita Parris and Steph Houghton. Gemma Wilson's header before the break gave Sunderland some hope, but after a second half of few chances, Toni Duggan's late penalty sealed the win and sent City top of the group.
The hosts had an early shout for a penalty when Wilson appeared to be bundled to the floor inside the box, as she looked likeliest to connect with Vicky Greenwell's free kick from the right touchline. After a good spell of early pressure, Victoria Williams had to be alert to clear Parris's effort off the line when Demi Stokes had cut the ball back to the forward from the goal line.
City broke the deadlock with eleven minutes on the clock; Issy Christiansen's corner was met by Houghton who sent a powerful effort at Rachael Laws from eight yards, the keeper parrying to the feet of Parris who tucked her shot into the top corner.
Things got worse for the hosts four minutes later when Houghton made up for her earlier miss, nodding Christiansen's follow up cross from a cleared corner into the bottom corner from eight yards.
Wilson was able to half the deficit eight minutes later, as Karen Bardsley came but got nowhere near Vicky Greenwell's corner, the central defender heading into an empty net from close range.
Beth Mead had the chance to level things before the break as Sarah McFadden picked up a loose pass to set the striker through one-on-one with Bardsley, but the striker could only drag her shot wide from the edge of the box.
It took fifteen minutes of the second period for a chance of note; Christiansen's lofted pass put Parris in at goal, but Laws was out to deny the striker her second, blocking with her legs.
It was another quarter of an hour before the next; Daphne Corboz was found by Jill Scott's pass, but her prodded effort from 12 yards trickled wide of the post.
Though both sides worked hard, chances during the second half were few and far between, until a flurry of City pressure in the final minutes. First Laws had to deny Parris again when one-one-one, the keeper turning the ball away with her stomach, before Duggan broke into the box, her shot beating Laws but not the post.
In the final minute of injury time, Wilson's challenge on Parris forced the referee to point to the spot, Duggan sending the ball powerfully into the top corner to seal the win.
Sunderland: Rachael Laws, Abby Holmes, Victoria Greenwell, Rachel Furness, Gemma Wilson, Beth Mead (sub Keira Ramshaw 62mins), Stephanie Roche, Sarah McFadden (sub Kelly McDougall 70mins), Brooke Chaplen, Victoria Williams, Emma Kelly. Subs not used: Abbey Joice, Hilde Gunn Olsen, Stephanie Bannon.
Manchester City: Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes, Steph Houghton, Kathleen Radtke (sub Keira Walsh 57mins), Jennifer Beattie, Jill Scott, Isobel Christiansen, Toni Duggan, Nikita Parris, Daphne Corboz (sub Krystle Johnston 81mins). Subs not used: Alex Brooks, Georgia Brougham, Natasha Flint, Emma Lipman, Abbie McManus.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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