Justine Robinson smashed a hat-trick as Pools Women’s Team won 4-1 at Rotherham United on Sunday to give new boss Jonathan Gibbon-Hayes the perfect start.
The influential skipper was on top form in the encounter against a struggling Millers outfit and helped Pools put them to the sword with a dominant performance in South Yorkshire.
After an even opening ten minutes, Pools began to knock the ball around more confidently and their one and two-touch football paved the way for the first goal on ten minutes when Jenni Duffy-Smith’s wicked set-piece delivery was only parried by the keeper and Robinson was on hand to nod home.
Pools continued to set the pace and cause problems for the Rotherham back four but the final pass eluded them until the half-hour mark when some fantastic pressing from Robinson saw Jade Pye sent through on goal and she finished clinically from the edge of the box for 2-0.
A couple of minutes later the hosts pulled a goal back against the run of play after Pools had given up possession cheaply in midfield and the Rotherham forward did well to find the back of the net.
However, the two-goal advantage was restored eight minutes before half-time when Robinson traded passes with Pye before slotting home her second of the game with a superb finish from just outside the box.
Gibbon-Hayes’ side were the dominant force again at the start of the second period, winning the midfield battle thanks to some tenacious work from the excellent Sarah Rowbotham and Duffy-Smith.
Chances came and went for Pools but they did come close to extending their lead when Pye rattled the underside of the home side’s crossbar.
The fourth goal did arrive on 76 minutes when Rowbotham released Robinson through on goal who raced forward to complete her hat-trick with a fine lobbed finish from twenty yards to make it 4-1.
Duffy-Smith almost grabbed a fifth goal that her performance would have deserved late on but again the woodwork came to Rotherham’s rescue as the ball came back off the bar once more.
“I am delighted to get the three points on board,” admitted Gibbon-Hayes afterwards.
“I thought all the players showed a real desire to play for the Club and they tried to implement some of the football we had worked on in training.
“It was difficult in the warm conditions and we weren’t able to name any outfield subs to ease the burden on the players but they showed great character and on another day could have won the game more convincingly.
“It’s been a positive start my Andy (Hetherington, Assistant Manager) and I so we are now looking forward to training this week and continuing the work.”
Full Time: Rotherham United 1 Pools 4
Pools: Smith, Bartlett, Stabler, Lambert, Stuart, Duffy-Smith, Rowbotham, Hampson, Pye, Ingram, Robinson.
Sub not used: Campbell.