Hartlepool United Ladies kept the pressure on at the top of the North East Regional Women’s Football League with a hard-fought win over South Shields on Sunday.
Shields, who were promoted alongside Pools last season, caused problems in the opening stages and their early pressure told when they opened the scoring on ten minutes.
Andy Stuart’s girls responded well to the setback and began to press their hosts as the first half developed but it wasn’t until the 43rd minute when they got back on level terms when Amy Cowan smashed home a cross from the left after an error by the goalkeeper.
Pools were on top in the second half but the home side were defending with determination and making it difficult for chances to be converted in to goals.
However, with a little less than twenty minutes left on the clock, Justine Robinson brilliantly burst past four defenders and in to the penalty area before unleashing an unstoppable drive in to the top corner to make it 2-1 to Pools.
The extra fitness in the Pools squad then became a crucial factor and they pushed on looking for a killer third goal, which arrived when Shields failed to clear a left-wing corner and Sarah Rowbotham was on hand to fire the loose ball in to the net.
The hosts showed some resilience near the end when they got another goal back from the corner to make it 3-2 but there was only time for the game to restart before the final whistle went and confirmed another three points for Pools.
It was a victory which kept the heat on league-leaders Durham Cestria who currently sit three points in front of Hartlepool United Ladies in the table.
“To be honest, it was a below-par performance from the girls although we were able to grind out the win,” Stuart told us afterwards.
“It keeps us in touch at the top of the league, which is great, because our number one objective this season is win the league and gain promotion.
“Now we have the three points from this game we can turn the full focus on Sunday when we play a massive SSE Women’s FA Cup game away at Middlesbrough Ladies of the Women’s Premier League.”
Sunday’s FA Cup game against Middlesbrough is a 1pm kick-off at Thornaby FC.
Full Time: South Shields Ladies 2 Hartlepool United Ladies 3
Pools: Geoghan, Duffy-Smith, Garside, Hurrell (Pye 46), Bartlett (Portas 46), Stuart (Smith 46), Cowan, Robinson, Bates, Rowbotham, Dawson.
Lambert, Henderson.Subs not used: