Photo: Jon Super for FA

Sunderland 3 (Staniforth 28’, 57’, Bruinenberg 78’)

Aston Villa 1 (Brown 90+4’)

Sunderland bounced back from Saturday’s disappointment against Liverpool by picking up a win against WSL 2 strugglers Aston Villa in the FA WSL Continental Cup.

Sunderland took the lead in the first half, with Lucy Staniforth finding the net with a cross come shot with 28 minutes played. 13 minutes into the second half, Staniforth scored again in the second half, this time in a more intentional manner.

Dominique Bruinenberg scored the Black Cats third and her first for the club with a great strike in the 78th minute. Ashlee Brown scored with the last kick of the game to give Villa a consolation.

Danielle Brown made her first start of the season after appearing for the development side on Sunday. Katie Barker was a surprise inclusion in Melanie Copeland’s squad, with the Centre of Excellence graduate impressing so far this season.

The game was scrappy from the outset, with with both side struggling to retain possession for much of the first half.

Staniforth had the first attempt of the game, hitting an outswinging effort with her right foot wide of the target.

Beth Merrick capitalised on a misplaced Hayley Sharp pass 20 minutes in, intercepting the ball before shooting. The shot from range lacked power however, with Rachael Laws saving easily.

Kasia Lipka, fresh from her 100th FA WSL game on Saturday, forced a great save from Villa ‘keeper Sian Rogers. Lipka’s floating effort forced Rogers to back pedal, turning the ball over the bar.

Only a minute later, Staniforth opened the scoring. From wide on the right hand side, what looked like a cross from the Sunderland captain dropped into the net at the back post.

Villa had a chance to equalise with 38 minutes played. Ebony Salmon stayed on her feet despite a foul from Victoria Williams, getting into the box before squaring the ball towards Kerri Walsh. However, Lipka was in the right place to cut out the cross.

A minute before half time, Salmon had a shot following a Villa counter attack. The forward’s effort was blocked by Sharp before Laws claimed it. Sunderland carried their narrow lead into halftime.

There was no doubting Staniforth’s intentions in the 57th minute, turning on the edge of the box before hammering the ball into the bottom right hand corner to double her and Sunderland’s tally.

With 17 minutes left to play, Zaneta Wyne tried her luck from just outside the area. The shot lacked power but Rogers’ spilled the effort, just getting enough on the ball to turn it around the post.

Jade Richards went close for Aston Villa in the 77th minute, heading goal wards from a corner. However, the centre-back’s header landed on the roof of the net.

Sunderland put the game to bed a minute later. Substitution Dominique Bruinenberg got off the mark for the club, finding the top corner with a great, right footed effort.

The final few minutes of the game became end-to-end, as Sunderland looked to add to their tally.

Laws was called into action as Salmon bared down on goal. The ‘keeper was bravely out at the feet of the Villa forward.

With seven minutes remaining, Kylla Sjoman found Keira Ramshaw with a nice, floated cross from the left. Ramshaw, got to the cross, heading the ball onto the roof of the net.

With four minutes of added time played, Williams slipped allowing the ball to get to substitute Ashlee Brown. Brown’s shot deflected over the head of Laws and found the net, the final kick of the game.

Sunderland’s win puts them top of their FA WSL Continental Cup group, however second place Liverpool have a game in hand. Villa sit bottom of the group with Wednesday’s game their first in the competition.

Captain and double goalscorer Lucy Staniforth was happy with the performance;

“We knew tonight would be about being clinical when we got our chances.

“A lot of the work we are doing on the training pitch, finishing drills, are paying off.

“We’re managed to score three goals and put in a solid, professional performance.”

SAFC: Laws, Sharp, Stewart, Williams, Brown (Koren 77’), Sjoman (Barker 85’), Lipka, Staniforth (c), Wyne, Ramshaw, Joice (Bruinenberg 70’)

Subs Not Used: Stonehouse, Warren, Lambert, Young

AVFC: Rogers, Crackle (Johnson 80’), Jones (c), N’Dow, Richards, Hassall, Hurley, Welsh (Brown 77’), Jewitt (Hutton 51’), Merrick, Salmon

Sub Not Used: Ejupi

Referee: Rebecca Welsh