Hartlepool United Ladies had to twice come from behind to seal a crucial victory over Bishop Auckland on Sunday as their march towards the Division One title continued.
Andy Stuart’s girls are now just one win away from sealing the title and promotion after finally overcoming Bishops 5-2 at the King James Academy.
Pools had begun the game brightly but were caught napping by a long ball over the top and the hosts grabbed the first goal of the game.
However, the Ladies quickly responded when a slick move involving the front two led to Robyn Ingram volleying the ball in to the far corner of the net to level things up at 1-1.
The home side weren’t lying down though and they restored their lead when the flag stayed down on an offside appeal and they broke through make it 2-1 on 19 minutes.
A physical contest then turned dramatically as half-time approached with Ingram scoring twice more in the space of eight minutes to turn the game on its head and see Pools lead 3-2 at the break.
Just before the hour mark Pools grabbed a crucial fourth goal when Jess Dawson capped a fine debut by cutting inside on to her right foot and firing an unstoppable shot in to the corner of the net.
Lucy Hammond-Garrington came off the bench on the hour mark and it took only two minutes for her to make an impact, as she raced on to Justine Robinson’s through-ball and smashed it home for 5-2.
The hosts had run out of steam and Pools could have added further gloss to their victory late on but for a fine save from the goalkeeper and another shot which cannoned back off the cross bar.
The result leaves the Ladies within one victory of the title and boss Stuart was thrilled with the way they showed their class after the early setbacks.
“It was a shock to be behind in the game because it’s not happened too often this season but the way we responded was fantastic,” he commented.
“Our fitness and strength told towards the end of the game and we could even have had a few more goals but we’re happy with the three points.
“We’re very close to what we wanted to achieve now and we can’t take our foot off the pedal.”
Full Time: Bishop Auckland Ladies 2 Hartlepool United Ladies 5
Pools: Robertson, Bartlett, Bates, Smith, Stuart, Rowbotham, Barr (Leighton 60), Robinson, Pye (Ingold 75), Ingram (Hammond-Garrington 60), Dawson (Corner 75).
Ord. Subs not used: