Caitlin Bates smashed another hat-trick as Hartlepool United Ladies maintained their push for promotion with a resounding win at Wallsend Ladies on Sunday.
The talented 21-year-old helped herself to an astonishing fourth treble of the campaign as Andy Stuart’s in-form side ran out 7-2 winners over fourth-placed Wallsend.
There was only two minutes gone when Bates opened the scoring after pressuring the home defender in to a poor back pass and then got the final touch as it went past the keeper and in to the net.
However, Wallsend rallied and hit back on 12 minutes when some poor defending allowed the hosts to escape through the defence and level things up.
Midway through the first half Pools restored their lead when Bates – who was threatening to run riot – broke away from the home defence and slotted the ball beyond the goalkeeper for 2-1.
More sloppy play saw Pools lose the ball in midfield and concede another equaliser a couple of minutes later though, as Wallsend took full advantage by producing a clinical finish.
But Bates completed her hat-trick before the break when she cut inside from the right and smashed the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 3-2.
Pools started to turn the screw early in the second half when Jess Dawson broke the offside trap and rounded the goalkeeper to score the fourth of the afternoon.
And the points were made safe on 70 minutes when Bates again raced clear of the helpless home defence and slotted the ball calmly past the keeper to make it 5-2.
Pools put gloss on their victory in the latter part of the game when Lucy Hammond-Garrington helped herself to a quick-fire brace with two calm and composed finishes.
“We’ve been four weeks without a game and it looked like it at times,” Stuart said afterwards.
“We did the job in winning the game and scoring seven goals but we also conceded our now customary two which is disappointing.
“We looked comfortable for most of the afternoon and I always felt confident we would win the game so now we have to build on that and keep on going.”
The victory means Pools now lie two-points behind second-placed Norton & Stockon Ancients who closed the gap on leaders Durham Cestria by beating them 4-2 at Maiden Castle on Sunday.
Full Time: Wallsend Ladies 2 Hartlepool United Ladies 7
Pools: Smith, Bartlett, Robinson, Ward, Garside (Rackstraw 78), Basnett, Duffy-Smith, Pye (Hammond-Garrington 67), Dawson (Hurrell 78), Rowbotham (Lambert 67), Bates.