Hartlepool United Ladies secured runners-up spot in the North East Regional Women’s League after finishing the season on a high by smashing nine goals past Redcar Town Ladies.
After the disappointment of defeat last time out, Andy Stuart’s side were determined to sign-off in style and the result rarely looked in doubt as they went at their hosts from the off.
The opening goal arrived just four minutes in when Nicky Duckling struck from distance to make it 1-0 but the home side responded instantly with an equally impressive goal of their own to level the scores.
However, Pools soon began to dominate and two goals in four minutes saw Pools move 3-1 in front by the quarter-hour mark as first Jade Pye and then Duckling once again found the net.
Nine minutes before break Pools grabbed their fourth goal of the afternoon when Pye slotted home her second with another smart finish.
Redcar then kept Pools at bay until just after the hour mark when Chloe Biggs’ corner picked out Sarah Rowbotham who nodded home to make it 5-1.
A brilliant solo goal from Justine Robinson followed on 69 minutes as she ran from the halfway line, past several home defenders and the goalkeeper before converting in to the empty net.
The seventh goal came from the penalty spot as Jess Dawson kept her composure to score from twelve yards, while Lottie Portas made it 8-1 with five minutes remaining with a fine drive from the edge of the box.
Pye capped a powerful individual and team performance by completing her hat-trick in injury time, turning skilfully on the edge of the box before rifling a shot past the keeper.
The result means Pools finish second in the table behind Durham Cestria but with an outside shot of gaining promotion if a play-off with the runners-up of the Southern Division is confirmed in the coming weeks.
“It was a good performance to finish the season with,” admitted Stuart afterwards.
“We’ve had some tough games in recent weeks but the girls enjoyed themselves in this one and played with a real freedom.
“I have to be satisfied with how things have gone this season – we’ve had some great highs and unfortunately a few lows but this is the strongest squad we’ve had in five years now.
“I think they have shown their ability to play at a higher level consistently throughout the season, no more so than in the FA Cup game against Middlesbrough Ladies.
“We just have to wait for contact from the League now to see if there is to be any play-off for promotion and we’ll go from there.”
Full Time: Redcar Town Ladies 1 Hartlepool United Ladies 9
Pools: Richardson, Bartlett, Henderson (Cowan 46), Biggs, Rowbotham, Stuart, Portas, Pye, Duckling, Robinson, Dawson.