Hartlepool United Ladies moved second in the North East Women’s Football League Premier Division after thrashing Tynedale Ladies 7-2 at Dyke House on Sunday.
It was a third victory in a row for Andy Stuart’s in-form side and they’ve now scored an astonishing 22 goals in that sequence which moves them above Norton & Stockton Ancients, albeit having played three games more than their rivals.
Mid-table Tynedale were always likely to provide more of a challenge than recent opponents but Jade Pye gave Pools the perfect start when she struck a wonderful opening goal from long range with just nine minutes on the clock.
Caitlin Bates opened up the visiting defence with a teasing run to set up Pye for a chance to double the lead a couple of minutes later but this time her shot hit the base of the post and came out.
Dependable midfielder Sarah Rowbotham came close to finding the net when she rattled the cross bar with a shot, while Bates also grazed the top of the woodwork with a sweet turn and volley after a wonderful team move down the right.
Pools’ dominance finally resulted in a second goal on 21 minutes when left-back Faye Garside ran on to a loose ball on the right edge of the area and unleashed an unstoppable right-foot shot across goal and in the top corner to celebrate her first goal of the season.
Bates fired just wide from the edge of the area before Tynedale grabbed a goal back just before the half-hour mark when the striker escaped down the left and toe-poked a great finish beyond keeper Becca Smith.
However, Pools restored their two-goal lead just six minutes later as Jenni Duffy-Smith rifled in another contender for Goal of the Season, letting fly direct from a free-kick which flew in to the top corner from twenty-five yards.
It got even better for Pools six minutes before the break when Tynedale struggled to fully clear a left-wing corner and when the ball was delivered back in to the front post it was diverted in to the net by a luckless visiting defender to make it 4-1.
Pools began the second half on the front foot and a brilliant one-two between Duffy-Smith and Jess Dawson freed the latter on the left of the box who cut the ball back to Chelsea Basnett but she fired a shot just over the bar.
On 52 minutes it was 5-1 though; Bates refused to give up on a through ball and chased down the keeper, blocking the attempted clearance which ricocheted back in to the net for the top scorer's 13th goal in 11 games.
Bates could have made it six five minutes later when she found space on the right of the area but her powerful drive was tipped on to the bar by the keeper and Dawson sent the rebound agonisingly wide.
Justine Robinson saw an effort from a corner hacked off the line, while Duffy-Smith and Bates both had further chances to increase Pools’ lead as the host continued to press.
However, Tynedale then broke effectively to make it 5-2 on 70 and give themselves a glimmer of hope, which was quickly wiped away by Lucy Hammond-Garrington who came off the bench to fire Pools’ sixth goal of the afternoon after being set-up by fellow substitute Robyn Ingram.
Pools put the gloss on their crucial victory nine minutes from time when some brilliant footwork from Hannah Lambert teed up Hammond-Garrington who saw her first shot saved before being able to force home the rebound to make it 7-2.
“I thought it was more impressive than last week because Tynedale are an experienced team who never stopped battling,” Stuart told us afterwards.
“They were threat and they were physical but we stood up to them – it was another test that we just met head on and it’s another one chalked off.
“The desire from our players was there to see; you saw it with Caitlin’s goal where she must have run thirty yards to close that ball down. Yes, it’s a lucky deflection but she earned that good fortune.
“The substitutes made a big impact again; Hannah Lambert’s ability with the ball is something to watch so being able to bring players on like that and see them chip in is fantastic.
“The pressure is on the other teams at the top to keep on winning because we’re coming for them.”
Full Time: Hartlepool United Ladies 7 Tynedale Ladies 2
Pools: Smith, Bartlett (Rackstraw 70), Robinson, Stuart, Garside, Basnett (Lambert 70), Rowbotham (Ingram 66), Duffy-Smith, Dawson, Bates, Pye (Hammond-Garrington 67).
Subs not used: Hurrell.