Arsenal Ladies 7-0 Sunderland Ladies: Stunning second half sees Gunners head to Wembley
Image source: Sunderland AFC

Sunderland Ladies fell at the last hurdle after a disappointing defeat against Arsenal Ladies, who sealed their place at Wembley at Meadow Park on Sunday with a 7-0 win.

With a place in the final up for grabs, both teams had a fighting chance and Sunderland wanted revenge for their 2009 FA Cup final loss to the Gunners.

The Lady Black Cats have gone from strength to strength since their disappointment back then, the Ladies have proven they are a force to be reckoned with.

Even opening

Arsenal started the game keenly but never really make Rachel Laws work in the opening stages, as Sunderland were happy to sit back to aggravate the hosts. A rare attack from the visitors almost saw them awarded a penalty.

Beth Mead progressed with the ball and forced her way through Arsenal’s defence and the goalkeeper charged out to try to pinch the ball, but Mead was knocked to the ground.  

The referee awarded the foul outside the 18-yard box, giving the Lasses a free kick. Lucy Staniforth lashed in the free-kick but the Gunners dealt with it well and cleared quickly.

The hosts were reduced to 10 after Emma Mitchell was shown a red card after two bookable offences. The left back picked up her first after an aggressive challenge on Mead and then minutes later was given her marching orders after pulling back Krystle Johnston.

It may have seemed to be in Sunderland's favour, however it was Arsenal who took the lead through Danielle van de Donk. The Lasses failed to deal with the ball on the line after Natalia Pablos Sanchon squared across the face of goal, and van de Donk put it in the back of the net.

Van de Donk celebrates. | Source: The FA
Van de Donk celebrates. | Source: The FA

Second half shock

The visitors found their rhythm early in the second and almost levelled the scores when Abbey Joice saw her effort deflected behind for a corner after a break from Mead.

As Sunderland desperately looked for an equaliser, the Gunners doubled their lead through Dan Carter; a smart run to the near post saw her tap home from close range.

The Lady Black Cats tried to respond through Rachel Furness, who forced Sari van Veenendaal to tip the effort over the bar.

Just when the visitors looked to be getting back into the game, Arsenal were awarded a penalty when van de Donk was fouled by Abby Holmes. She was shown a straight red, before Fara Williams stroked home the penalty beyond Laws’ right hand.

Van de Donk scored her second after Carter broke away and fed Sanchon, who fired a great ball across for van de Donk to finish off the play.

Jordon Nobbs netted the Gunners’ fifth goal after a breakaway, she played the ball round Laws before slotting home in the 82nd minute. It was a turbulent last ten minutes for the ladies in red and white as van de Donk sealed her hat-trick when she got on the end of Nobbs' through ball to fire past Laws.

Sunderland, not letting their head drop, continued to work hard but the Gunners’ ruthlessness and quality were clear to see and well into stoppage time Carter scored her second and Arsenal’s seventh and final goal.