Caitlin Bates struck a hat-trick as Pools Women’s Team scored SIX times in an incredible first half-hour to thrash Rotherham United at Dyke House on Sunday.
Bates produced some clinical finishing but it was a team performance of real promise from Jonathan Gibbon-Hayes’ side, who had the game won after an astonishing glut of goals in the opening 30 minutes.
There was less than five minutes on the clock when Pools hit the net for the first time as skipper Justine Robinson stormed in to the left side of the area before teeing up Bates to make it 1-0.
A couple of minutes later Pools doubled their advantage when Jenni Duffy-Smith rifled an unstoppable shot in to the roof of the net after orchestrating a well-worked short corner.
It was 3-0 on 20 minutes when Bates swung a cross in to the area from the right and Jade Pye found space to brilliantly guide her header in to the top right-hand corner of the net.
Bates was then slipped through one-on-one with the keeper and punished Rotherham further with a composed shot in to the corner as the visitors threatened to completely unravel.
Robinson was proving too much for The Millers to handle playing off the left flank and another superb and determined run saw her get through on goal before very unselfishly squaring the ball for Pye who made it 5-0.
The sixth goal arrived on 31 minutes as Bates’ pace in behind again caused problems as she raced on to another through ball and skilfully curled it round the advancing keeper to complete her third treble of the campaign.
By now a strong wind was building at Dyke House and making conditions difficult for both sets of players – and with it blowing in Pools’ favour as the second half began, it was expected to be another one-sided 45 minutes.
However, Rotherham came out with renewed fight and showed great spirit to pull a goal back just after the restart when they took advantage of some hesitation at the back to rifle the ball in to the net.
Pools did have their opportunities; Bates struck the post with a low drive, while the visiting keeper was also called in to action to make fine saves from Bates and Duffy-Smith later in the half.
However, there wasn’t the same fluency about their display and Amy Campbell in the Pools goal had to be alert to block a goalbound shot, before Duffy-Smith did well to clear the loose ball off the line.
“It was a very positive first half and some of the football we played was on another level,” said Gibbon-Hayes afterwards.
“But in the second half with the wind behind us we couldn’t get our game going and were a bit sloppy at times – I think maybe some of the girls switched off because the game was dead really.
“If we play the kind of football we did in the first half then I think we’ll cause problems for every team at this level and some from the level above too.
“We’re trying to set a mentality in the players that we can play football with the squad we have so we want to finish the season strongly and then look for promotion next year.”
The win keep Pools second in the NERWFL Premier Division, though South Shields’ weekend victory over Harrogate Town means they remain just three points behind in third.
Full Time: Pools 6 Rotherham United 1
Pools: Campbell, Hampson (Rackstraw 70), Bartlett, Stuart, Stabler (Carter 75), Rowbotham, Duffy-Smith, Ingram (Lambert 65), Robinson, Bates, Pye.
Photo Credit: Lisa Stabler