SUNDERLAND head coach Claire Robinson credited the way her side responded after going down to ten as they ended their FA WSL Continental Cup campaign with defeat to Everton.
Nikita Parris lashed home from 12 yards just before the break and Lauren Davies sealed the deal 14 minutes from time with Abby Holmes seeing red in between for two quick bookings.
And Robinson said: “Defensively I couldn’t have asked any more of the girls. I’m happy enough that there were some chances and that we could have went on and won the game.
“Sometimes the girls don’t need too much encouragement to improve. At halftime we just needed a bit of guidance and reorganisation going 4-4-1. After that it’s just pinning down a little bit of detail to show how when we haven’t got the ball, when we then get on the ball, how can we then be positive and constructive about that.”
The first 20 minutes were open, although neither side created many clear chances, with Beth Mead firing narrowly wide for Sunderland after a pin-point cross from Sophie Williams.
The game sprung into action ten minutes before half-time however, as first Everton opened the scoring with the impressive Parris striking home from 12 yards on 36 minutes.
And just before half-time full-back Holmes was sent off after two yellows in succession – the first for kicking the ball at an Everton player and the second for a trip on Parris.
Despite being a player down, Sunderland improved in the second half – Mead nearly equalising after Rachel Furness broke down the left but her effort was turned wide.
However Davies leapt off the bench for Everton and sealed the game with 14 minutes left on the clock – her effort a beautifully struck curling shot from 25 yards.