Hartlepool United face a glamour tie away at Bolton Wanderers in the next qualifying round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup after seeing off Washington in their opening game of the season on Sunday.
After a positive pre-season campaign, new boss Craig Devon saw his reign get off to a winning start as goals from Caitlin Bates (2), Jade Pye and Emily Stuart were enough to secure a 4-2 triumph.
Pools began the game cautiously and Washington’s young and energetic team did most of the running in the opening quarter of an hour without really hurting Devon’s well-drilled side.
Midway through the first period, Pools’ ploy paid off when Pye grabbed the opening goal – new signing Alisha Smith whipped in a free-kick to find the striker who converted to make it 1-0.
Pools stepped up their dominance as the half wore on, with Faye Garside, Jess Dawson and Hannah Lambert all linking up well to cause problems for their hosts.
Bates was also growing in to the game and grabbed her first goal on 34 minutes with a neat finish to make it 2-0 to Pools and give them some breathing space in the game.
The lead grew even wider just before the break when Bates was brought down inside the area and Emily Stuart stepped up to score her first senior goal from the penalty spot and make it 3-0.
Bates then added a fourth just after the break which was a trigger for Pools to take the foot off the gas and allow their opponents to grow in confidence during the second half.
They pulled a goal back just before the hour mark after Pools had given the ball away in sloppy fashion and the Washington forward was able to hit a long-range effort in to the net.
Pools made a few changes in a bid to secure their win but there was still a hint of complacency which allowed Washington to score again to make it 4-2 right at theend.
“I feel it was a bit of mixed day for the team,” admitted Devon afterwards.
“For the first 70 minutes I couldn’t really fault them and special mention has to go to Sarah Bartlett, Jenni Duffy-Smith and Amy Campbell in goal for restricting Washington to very few shots on target.
“We kept the ball well, showed great calmness and were able to change the ways we attacked which gives me great confidence for the season ahead.
“But once we were well in the lead we seemed to think the job was done and allowed mistakes to creep in which created our own problems – we have to learn from that in the games coming up.”
Full Time: Washington 2 Pools 4
Pools: Campbell, Bartlett, Duffy-Smith, Stuart, Lambert, Garside (Carter 65), Robinson, Bates, Smith, Pye (Hampson 80), Dawson (Portas 62).
Subs not used: Smith, Rackstraw.