Hartlepool United Ladies thrashed York City on Sunday afternoon to celebrate their first victory of the North East Regional Women’s Football League Premier Division season.
Having been beaten on home soil last time out, Pools made the short trip to Haxby Road hoping to be more efficient in front of goal than they had been and it certainly happened for them.
They enjoyed a positive start to the game and pushed their hosts on to the back foot with a number of dangerous early corners delivered in to the box by Caitlin Bates.
However, City managed to weather the early storm and then snatched the lead against the run of play when an error in the Pools backline was punished with the game’s opening goal on five minutes.
It was a setback which failed to knock Pools out of their rhythm though and they immediately got back on the front foot, opening up the home defence time and again as they searched for the equaliser.
They finally got their reward on the half-hour mark when another Bates corner proved too hot to handle and Sarah Rowbotham was on hand to bundle the ball home from close range to level things up.
The goal rocked City and Pools took advantage; Justine Robinson almost made it 2-1 straight away with a powerful drive from fully 35 yards but the skipper’s shot rattled the crossbar.
There was even time for another goal before the break; Bates’ set-pieces were causing mayhem and another teasing ball in to the area was headed home by Nicky Duckling to make it 2-1 to Pools.
City came out fighting at the start of the second half and got back on level terms within two minutes when they scored from a corner of their own.
However, Pools soon got back in control of the game and began to knock the ball around with confidence, causing problems down the right-hand side in particular with Bates looking to get on the ball more.
On 55 minutes the pressure paid off when Duckling was brought down in the box and Bates stepped up to smash a powerful penalty kick past the keeper and restore Pools’ lead at 3-2.
The home side looked deflated and Pools kept on pressing, increasing their lead on 69 minutes when yet another Bates corner found a team-mate in the middle and Rowbotham profited by grabbing her second of the game.
Three minutes later it was 5-2; Player of the Match Bates sent in another menacing corner and, when the York defence failed to get it clear, Robinson was on hand with a clinical left-foot finish.
The margin of victory could even have been more handsome by the end, with Lucy Garrington, Ash Leighton and Mae Rackstraw all coming close for Pools in the closing stages.
“We had practically a full squad to choose from so that allowed us to make a few tactical changes and go with a more attacking line-up,” explained boss Andy Stuart afterwards.
“The girls had a good week of training and were eager to get back to winning ways, which showed throughout what was a display full of confidence and belief.
“They put together some great passages of play, dictated the game and created lots of opportunities – so it was pleasing to put more of them away this week to get that win.”
The Ladies now face a wait for their next outing as they travel to Tynedale on Sunday 26th November.
Full Time: York City Ladies 2 Hartlepool United Ladies 5
Pools: Smith, Bartlett, Garside (Rackstraw 70), Robinson, Stuart (Leighton 70), Basnett, Portas (Ingram 60), Bates, Duckling (Pye 60), Dawson (Garrington 70), Rowbotham.