THE two North-East survivors face lengthy away trips to face unfamiliar opponents in the fourth round following Monday’s draw.
But both Sunderland and Newcastle will start favourites against lower division opposition as they bid to go into the hat for the fifth round alongside the eight Super League sides, who enter at that stage next month.
Newcastle appear to have the stiffer task, at Oxford United, who pulled off the shock of the third round by coming from behind to win 2-1 at Premier League Charlton Athletic last Sunday (February 3).
The South West Combination leaders, who have lost only one game all season, will be in confident mood as they welcome Newcastle to the Oxford training ground, at Cowley, on February 24.
United were given a pointer to the potential standard of their opponents as they only won through following a close contest with another South West Combination side, Plymouth Argyle, last Sunday.
Goals by Jess Havelock and Charlotte Potts gave Newcastle the tie, 2-1, but there were a few nervous moments to endure at a blustery Coach Lane.
Sunderland enjoyed an easier passage as they overcame Middlesbrough 6-1 in the Tees- Wear derby at Thornaby.
Keira Ramshaw hit a hattrick, with Beth Mead, Natalie Gutteridge and Becky Salicki, from the penalty spot, adding the Lady Black Cats’ other goals.
Boro never gave up and pulled one back, through Jenny Dixon, on 78 minutes, to briefly reduce the deficit to 4- 1, but found the going tough against opposition two divisions higher.
FA Premier League
SUNDERLAND turn their attention to the defence of the League Cup when they entertain Cardiff City in a quarterfinal tie tomorrow (Sunday February 10).
The Bluebirds, who lie seven places behind leaders Sunderland in the National Division, are yet to face the Lady Black Cats in the league this season.
With their opponents facing a long return journey to South Wales following the tie, Sunderland have agreed to bring kick-off forward to 1pm at the Hetton Centre.
SOUTH DURHAM and Cestria hope to finally resume their title quest tomorrow following a winter of discontent, largely kicking their heels with pitches proving unplayable.
The last league fixture for SD&C was a resounding 6-0 win against Sheffield United Community FC, at Brinkburn Road, on October 28, since when they have played only three times, all cup ties.
Despite building up a backlog of combination fixtures, Lee Sanders’ side remains second in the table, just three points behind leaders Chorley.
South Durham travel to meet bottom-of-the-table Stockport County at the Woodley Sports ground tomorrow, while Chorley have a tougher looking fixture, at Huddersfield.
North-East Regional League
PREMIER DIVISION pacesetters Peterlee St Francis and Chester-le-Street return to league duties tomorrow after contrasting Durham County Cup results last weekend.
While Chester-le-Street went down 1-0 in their home quarter-final tie against South Durham and Cestria, Peterlee enjoyed an 11-1 romp at Rutherford Ravens.
Chester-le-Street are back at Moor Park tomorrow to face Premier Division newcomers Lepton Highlanders for the first time, while PSF are also at home, as Hessle Town make the trip to Eden Lane.
York, who are up to fifth after their third win of 2013, 3- 2 at home to Hessle last Sunday, make the short journey along the A64 to Guiseley tomorrow.
Northern Division leaders Norton and Stockton Ancients hope to take their form of last Sunday, which brought an 8-0 home win over Birtley Town, with them on their longest league trip of the season to face Lowick United in north Northumberland, tomorrow.
Redcar Athletic’s home fixture against Durham Wildcats is now a case of third meets second.
It follows the Wildcats’ 10-0 thrashing of Easingwold Town Angels, which lifted them above Athletic, who were without a match.
The Angels will hope to lick their wounds at home to Wildcats’ neighbours Durham City, who remain rooted to the foot of the table, while Birtley are at home to California.