After defeat in the League Cup last time out, Hartlepool United Ladies roared back to form on Sunday when they thrashed Cramlington United in their opening league fixture.
The girls showed they were up for the fight from the off in their trip to Cramlington – a team who Pools defeated 6-0 just a fortnight ago in cup competition.
After such a battering first time around, the hosts were keen to try and play a more defensive game – but they were powerless to stop a clinical Pools attack from tearing them apart once again.
It took until midway through the first half for Pools to make the breakthrough when Casey Crossman outpaced the home defence and slotted the ball in to the bottom corner of the net.
Five minutes later it was 2-0 when a fine team move saw Sarah Rowbotham drive in to the box with possession and strike a shot which took a deflection on its way in to the top corner.
The advantage was increased again on the half-hour mark as Chloe Briggs played a neat one-two before drilling a ball in to the top corner from twenty-five yards.
And Pools were able to make it 4-0 before half time when the excellent Jess Dawson cut in from the left wing and fired an unstoppable shot past the keeper from just inside the area.
While they made three substitutions during the break, Pools were in no mood to let the home side off the hook though Cramlington did make them wait until the 65th minute for a fifth goal which arrived courtesy of Jussy Robinson’s neat turn and shot.
Four minutes later Jenni Duffy-Smith whipped a set-piece in to the penalty area where the goalkeeper spilled it under pressure and Katie Ord was able to scramble the loose ball home for 6-0.
And in the closing stages of the match Pools rounded off the scoring with the seventh goal – and probably the best of the afternoon. Caitlin Bates drove in from the right wing and curled a left-footed shot in to top corner of the net from twenty-five yards which even drew applause from the home crowd.
“It was a better performance this week and we showed our progress, with the girls playing some good football,” explained boss Andy Stuart.
“There is still a way to go until we’re comfortable and confident with the shape and manner we are aiming for.
“It’s another massive game coming up this weekend when we’re at home against Blyth Ladies in the league; they are regarded as favourites for the league so that will be an excellent challenge for us.”
Full Time: Cramlington United Ladies 0 Hartlepool United Ladies 7
Marshall, Leigh-Shaw (Ord 65), Garside (Robinson 46), Stuart, Bates, Rowbotham, Freeman, Bartlett (Smith 60), Crossman (Duffy-Smith 46), Biggs (Pye 46), Dawson.Pools: