Caitlin Bates scored twice as Hartlepool United Ladies moved second in the North East Regional Women’s League Premier Division with victory at Farsley Celtic on Sunday.
The in-form forward made it 22 goals in all competitions for the season as Andy Stuart’s outfit moved above Norton & Stockton Ancients and just five points behind Durham Cestria with a game in hand.
Pools will now go in to Wednesday evening’s crunch clash at Norton high on confidence after racking up a sixth straight win with their 4-1 triumph at Farsley Celtic.
Stuart’s side got off to a strong start at The Throstle’s Nest on Sunday, penning the hosts in their own half in the early stages and grabbing the opening goal on nine minutes when Jess Dawson cut in from the left and fired a powerful shot past the keeper and in to the net.
Midway through the first half it was 2-0 when Bates showed some good perseverance to follow in and fire home on the rebound after the keeper had done well to block her initial effort on goal.
The next goal was always going to be important and it was Pools who got it eight minutes after the break when Dawson played the ball to Bates who took a touch to set herself before unleashing an unstoppable left-footed shot in to the top corner, leaving the keeper helpless.
Jade Pye climbed off the bench to keep her scoring streak going fifteen minutes from time when she was perfectly positioned to convert with a sublime finish, once again assisted by the dangerous Dawson.
The only minor blemish came in injury time when some uncharacteristic hesitation at the back from Pools allowed Farsley Celtic to claim a consolation goal.
“Overall it was an excellent performance from the team and the substitutes,” Stuart explained afterwards.
“It was a very professional job and some fantastic, controlled football gave us a well-deserved victory against a Farsley team that didn’t stop competing.
“It was disappointing to concede at the end because keeper Becca Smith and the back four were outstanding for the majority of the match.
“Next up is Norton on Wednesday and we’ll approach that full of confidence but aware that they are unbeaten and having a good season so we’ll need to prepare right.”
Full Time: Farsley Celtic Ladies 1 Hartlepool United Ladies 4
Pools: Smith, Cowan, Robinson, Stuart (Hurrell 70), Garside (Rackstraw 22), Bartlett (Pye 61), Duffy-Smith, Basnett, Rowbotham, Dawson, Bates (Lambert 70).