Hartlepool United Ladies were beaten 4-2 in an entertaining North East Regional Women’s Football League meeting with East Yorkshire Carnegie Women at Grayfields on Sunday.
Andy Stuart’s girls began the game on the front foot and started creating some problems for their visitors, though they still remained a threat on the counter-attack which made for an evenly-poised spectacle.
Just before the half-hour mark Pools made the breakthrough when the dangerous Caitlin Bates made a good run down the right and the shot across goal was turned in from close range by Jess Dawson at the back post.
The game remained an open affair with Pools attacking in numbers and always susceptible to a break from the away side and Becca Smith had to make a couple of smart saves to protect the lead.
However, just three minutes before the break the visitors grabbed a leveller when an incisive through ball freed the forward and she converted well past Smith to make it 1-1.
East Yorkshire Carnegie looked a little more dangerous after the interval and got in front for the first time on 57 minutes before quickly making it 3-1 just seven minutes later thanks to some sloppy defending from Pools.
Stuart continued to shuffle his pack with a number of substitutions in an attempt to regain a foothold in the game and a lovely move involving five players resulted in Jade Pye smashing a great finish in to the roof of the net from 15 yards and give Pools hope.
It looked set to be a tense finale with the game poised at 3-2 but the referee awarded a debatable penalty for handball and that allowed Carnegie to score their fourth goal from the spot and secure the three points.
“We’re still unable to play our strongest team due to injuries and absentees but it was a still a game that we should have won, based on the chances we created,” admitted Stuart.
“We need to understand that teams in this league play for ninety minutes and keep going even when they concede – previously, perhaps teams have given in against us.
“That isn’t happening in this division so we need to raise our standards and match their mentality or we will continue to lose games.”
Full Time: Hartlepool United Ladies 2 East Yorkshire Carnegie Women 4
Pools: Smith, Cowan, Bartlett (Hurrell 50), Robinson, Stuart (Rackstraw 80), Basnett, Portas, Bates (Pye 59), Duckling, Dawson, Rowbotham (Leighton 67).