A mixture of poor defending and a failure to put away their chances meant Hartlepool United Ladies were forced to settle for a point in their first league game of the season at Wakefield on Sunday.
Andy Stuart’s side made a bright start to their first-ever meeting with Wakefield and the majority of the opening twenty minutes was played out in the hosts’ half of the pitch.
Midway through the first period Pools finally made that dominance pay when a flowing move down the right wing allowed Nicky Duckling to fire off a shot which was parried to last term’s top scorer Jess Dawson who volleyed it home from fifteen yards for 1-0.
The goal should have provided a platform for Pools to build on but the home side snatched an equaliser in bizarre circumstances four minutes later as the defence switched off and allowed Wakefield to make it 1-1.
Pools continued to enjoy most of the possession and were back in front within two minutes; Wakefield defended a prolonged attack with determination but couldn’t fully clear their lines and Jade Pye finally smashed the ball home from inside the area.
However, midway through the second half Pools allowed their hosts back in to the game again when they failed to deal with a long ball forward and poor marking meant Wakefield found enough space in the box to convert the equaliser.
The goal inspired the home side and they went in front for the first time on 71 minutes when yet more poor decision-making presented them with the opportunity and they took it go 3-2 ahead.
Pools toiled to find a way through and had to wait until the 82nd minute to salvage a point when Ash Leighton’s free-kick from the left found Jussy Robinson who forced the ball home.
There were even chances for Stuart’s team to snatch a victory in the closing stages but Wakefield hung on and points were shared.
“It was a below-par performance that wasn’t to our usual standard,” admitted Stuart.
“Despite that, we still managed to create more than enough chances to have won the game but we can’t defend the way we did and expect to win football matches.
“I will be expecting a reaction from the girls in training and then a much better performance next time out because there are bigger tests to come in our debut season in the Premier Division.”
The Ladies’ next outing is an away tie at Farsley Celtic in the third round of qualifying for the FA Cup on Sunday 8th October (2pm kick-off).
Full Time: Wakefield Ladies 3 Hartlepool United Ladies 3
Pools: Smith, Hurrell (Rackstraw 55), Garside, Robinson, Stuart, Basnett, Portas (Leighton 65), Dawson, Duckling, Pye (Lambert 65), Bartlett.
Subs not used: McAlpine.