AFTER Bradford City Women suffered a 5-0 defeat in the Women’s FA Cup second round to Chorley the previous weekend, it was left to Brighouse Town’s ladies to carry the expectations of the region into the third round.

They faced an almighty task, at home to Sunderland, who are in the second-tier Women’s Championship

Brighouse play in the third tier, the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division, but they were on top in the opening half-an-hour.

They forced the Sunderland goalkeeper Allison Cowling into a good save after just two minutes, before shooting wide soon after.

Keira Ramshaw had a couple of decent chances for the Mackems, but from the second of those, Brighouse broke away and hit the bar.

Ramshaw tapped home a rebound for Sunderland after Holly Manders saw her header come back off the crossbar, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Emma Kelly then struck a shot just wide for the visitors, as the game reached the break goalless.

It was a quiet start to the second half, only livened up when Kelly had a shot stopped by Brighouse keeper Imogen Maguire after an hour.

But Maguire was powerless to stop Emily Scarr from opening the scoring for Sunderland five minutes later.

Maria Farrugia drove through the middle before teeing up Scarr, who managed to get the ball out of her feet and crashed it into the top corner.

Cowling had to be at her best to keep Sunderland in front, tipping an effort around the post to keep Brighouse out with 12 minutes to go.

Scarr then looked to return the favour to Farrugia in the closing moments, but her shot cleared the crossbar.

It mattered little though, with the North-East giants the ones going through to the fourth round in the end.

The Bantams ladies were due to play on Sunday, but their FAWNL Division One North home clash with Alnwick Town was postponed.

They do not have long to wait until their next game though, and are in action tomorrow night in the West Riding County Cup away to Yorkshire Amateur.

That third-round clash will be the City ladies’ last game of 2021.

With that Alnwick encounter postponed for the first team on Sunday, it was left to the reserves to fly the flag for the club.

And they had a weekend win to remember, getting their first victory of the season in the FAWNL Reserve Northern Division by beating mid-table Liverpool Feds 2-0.

City’s goals came courtesy of Hannah Markey and Crystal Knapton.