Hartlepool United Ladies all but secured the runners-up spot in the North East Regional Womens Football League with a brilliant 3-0 win at Blyth Town Lions on Sunday.
It was a crucial result for Andy Stuart’s girls as they increased their advantage over third-placed York City Reserves and fourth-placed South Shields Ladies to six points.
Recent bad weather meant Pools hadn’t been in action for a fortnight but they looked keen to make up for lost time as they turned in one of their most powerful performances of the season on Sunday.
A one-sided first half saw Pools press for the opening goal and they hit the cross bar now fewer than three times as the home side rode their luck and went in goalless at the break.
However, Pools made their dominance count ten minutes in to the second period when Lottie Portas latched on to a cross from the right and smashed a low shot low and hard in to the net.
On 65 minutes Pools increased their lead through Jade Pye, who was on hand to convert from close range after a slick move which had involved five visiting players.
The game was effectively over five minutes later when Pools knocked the stuffing out of their hosts with a third goal; this time Hannah Lambert applied the finishing touch, arriving to smash home a cross from the right after great work from Sarah Bartlett.
“That was a game which was a potential banana skin for us,” admitted Stuart afterwards.
“We knew we needed the three points to secure our position in second place but Blyth are a strong side who have made some good signings recently so it was always going to be tough.
“All credit to the girls because they delivered a very good performance and, if there is anything to be critical about, it’s that we didn’t convert more of our chances.
“But I can’t grumble about any of the performances really, all of the players were outstanding.”
Full Time: Blyth Town Lion 0 Hartlepool United Ladies 3
Pools: Richardson, Cowan (Biggs 67), Duffy-Smith, Garside, Rowbotham, Stuart, Portas (Bartlett 65), Basnett, Duckling (Pye 60), Robinson, Dawson (Lambert 55).
Hurrell.Subs not used: