Emily Scarr netted a stunning goal as Sunderland Ladies edged out Brighouse Town 1-0 to reach the fourth round of the Women’s FA Cup.

The young forward, who has endured a difficult couple of weeks, struck midway through the second half to book her side’s place in the draw for the next round and avoid a cup upset against the National League opponents.

Looking to bounce back from last week’s heavy defeat to Aston Villa, Mel Reay endured more selection headaches with Charlotte Potts (illness) and Abbey Joice (personal reasons) joining Grace McCatty, Faye Mullen, Jess Brown and Emily Hutchinson on the absentee list.

England youth international Grace Ede was handed her first senior start in a strong line up which included captain Kiera Ramshaw but, with the squad down to its bare bones, only three substitutes were named on the bench.

In the early stages there were chances for both sides – Brighouse forcing a good save from Alison Cowling and then rattling the crossbar either side of Ramshaw heading over and having a low strike well held by Imogen Maguire.

Sunderland struck the woodwork themselves on the half hour through Holly Manders with Ramshaw reacting first to tap in the rebound which was ruled offside. In stoppage time, Emma Kelly fired wide after skipping past two defenders as the first half ended goalless.

The midfielder was involved again immediately after the break, collecting Maria Farrugia’s pass in the box, but her shot was saved by the goalkeeper.

With 25 minutes to go, the breakthrough arrived in spectacular fashion – Farrugia strode forward from midfield and found Scarr who took a touch to steady herself and smashed the ball into the top corner.

Brighouse toiled to find an equaliser, Cowling making another good save to palm a speculative effort away for a corner. At the other end, Scarr almost returned Farrugia’s favour by cutting the ball back into the box from the left but the Malta international couldn’t keep her shot down.

The draw for the fourth round will take place on Monday 13 November at 7pm live on talkSport’s Women’s Football Weekly show, where Super League sides including 2021 FA Cup winners Chelsea and runners up Arsenal, as well as Manchester City and Manchester United, will enter the competition.

Sunderland could also face a North East derby with Durham and Newcastle also in the hat after both enjoyed big wins against Leeds and Chorley respectively.

Sunderland: Cowling; Beer, Griffiths, Herron, Kelly; Manders (Blakey 77′), Farrugia, Ede, McInnes, Ramshaw (Burt 77′); Scarr.

Subs not used: Moan