Sarah Rowbotham scored the only goal as Hartlepool United’s Women’s Team made it to Round Two of the League Cup with victory over South Shields in a feisty affair at Grayfields on Sunday.
The midfielder converted from a well-worked corner ten minutes before half-time to give Pools the edge and it proved decisive as Craig Devon’s outfit battled to protect their lead.
Shields had actually started the brighter in the game, taking advantage of some early sloppiness from Pools to get on the front foot during the opening twenty minutes.
However, Pools slowly grew in to the game and began to enjoy more possession and were able to get their passing game going as the first half developed.
On 35 minutes Alisha Smith swung in a right-wing corner which found Rowbotham and work on the training ground came to fruition as she diverted the ball home to put Pools in front.
Tempers flared between the two rivals just before the break and the referee had to step in restore order as things threatened to boil over.
Thankfully, the second half was more about the football and both sides knocked the ball around very well to create chances – with both teams hitting the cross bar as they looked for a second goal.
Pools were able to make a couple of substitutions and the fresh legs helped them deal with a late onslaught from their visitors to get over the finish line and book their place in the Second Round.
“Going in to the game we knew what to expect,” explained Devon afterwards.
“They wanted to disrupt the way we play and, in parts of the game, we fell in to that trap and lost our cool and therefore our rhythm.
“But we grabbed the lead, improved our performance and went on to contain South Shields and see the game out. A mixed day all round but we’re through to the next stage which was important.”
Full Time: Pools 1 South Shields 0
Pools: Campbell, Garside, Carter (Bartlett 55), Duffy-Smith, Stuart, Rowbotham, Smith, Robinson, Ingram (Hampson 81), Bates, Pye (Smith 90).