Hartlepool United Ladies returned to action in style on Sunday afternoon when they thrashed Tynedale Ladies 6-0 at Kingsley Park.
After being forced to go three weeks without a competitive game, the Ladies were clearly keen to make up for lost time and they made an energetic start to the encounter in Northumberland.
Some good passing and movement in the early stages created a chance for Sarah Rowbotham, who fired just wide after some good wide play from Jess Dawson before Nicky Duckling brought a superb save from the keeper with a goalbound effort.
The deadlock was broken midway through the first half when Caitlin Bates broke away down the right to set up Dawson who made no mistake to open the scoring and put Pools 1-0 up.
The goal gave Pools an extra lift and Dawson could even have made it 2-0 almost immediately but this time she struck a shot just too high.
It was only brief respite for the hosts though; the impressive Bates worked an angle for a shot which was saved but Duckling on hand to convert the rebound to double Pools’ lead.
It was 3-0 right on the stroke of half-time when more determined play from Bates saw her break away down the right to play in Duckling who showed great awareness to tee up Jade Pye on the edge of the box for a clinical left-footed finish.
Pools didn’t take their foot off the pedal at the start of the second half either and Duckling freed Bates who was only denied the fourth goal by a good save from the keeper.
Rebecca Smith in the Pools goal had to make a smart save to preserve the clean sheet as Tyndale looked to get a foothold back in the game.
However, Pools continued to look the more likely and almost scored a brilliant fourth goal on the hour when Duckling sent Dawson away down the left and she played a great ball in to Bates who was just inches away from prodding it home.
It was 4-0 seconds later though; Dawson saw her shot saved by the keeper but Duckling was once again in the right place at the right time to follow-up and find the net.
Smith was brought in to action to make another great save to keep it at 4-0 before substitute Lucy Garrington made an instant impact by flicking the ball on for Dawson who scored her second of the game to make it 5-0.
Pools kept on piling on the pressure in the closing stages and Garrington hit the bar before Dawson came close to completing her hat-trick only to see the ball come back off the post.
Bates was re-introduced for the closing stages and almost got the goal her performance deserved when she stormed down the left before cutting inside to unleash a fierce shot but the home keeper saved it before a second shot from the talented Pools forward was cleared off the line.
However, there was a sixth goal three minutes from time when a free-kick was parried out by the keeper and Rowbotham was there to slot it home from close range.
“It was a poor pitch in freezing conditions so it was always going to be a tricky game,” explained interim boss Chris Murphy afterwards.
“We made three changes from the last game and I thought the Ladies adapted to the conditions really well and took control from the very first whistle.
“We looked comfortable on the ball and worked hard out of possession. We put together some excellent attacking play and our front three looked a threat all game but we also looked tight at the back to keep the clean sheet.”
Full Time: Tynedale Ladies 0 Hartlepool United Ladies 6
Pools: Smith, Bartlett (Rackstraw 66), Stuart, Robinson, Cowan, Ingram (Basnett 56), Rowbotham, Pye (Rowe 66), Bates (Lambert 66), Dawson, Duckling (Garrington 66).