Emily Stuart struck a brilliant hat-trick but Pools Women had to be content with a point from a thrilling encounter at Tynedale on Sunday afternoon.
Centre-back Stuart had only scored two previous goals in her senior career but the youngster’s treble helped Pools claim a 3-3 draw, though there had been chances to have secured victory.
The opening ten minutes of the contest proved competitive with both sides feeling each other out and Tynedale, in particular, attempting to impose their physical presence.
However, Pools went in front on 17 minutes when a corner was only cleared to the edge of the box where Stuart met it with a sumptuous volley which flew in to the net from twenty-five yards.
The goal boosted Jonny Gibbon-Hayes’ side and they began to control proceedings, moving further in front just after the half-hour mark when Justine Robinson’s shot was blocked by a defender’s hand and Stuart slotted home the resultant penalty.
The home side grabbed a crucial lifeline just before the break when they pounced on a defensive mistake from Pools to pull a goal back.
The second half started in similarly sloppy fashion for Pools as they stood appealing for an offside decision which never arrived and allowed the Tynedale forward to run through and level the game up at 2-2.
Pools woke and began playing their football again and on the hour went back in front when Jenni Duffy-Smith’s dangerous set-piece was knocked in the net by Stuart to complete her hat-trick.
Pools then set about searching for more goals but chances came and went, including a wonderful opportunity when Robinson ran clear on goal only to be dubiously flagged offside.
The hosts made the most of the let-off and broke down to the other end of the pitch to win a set-piece from which they manufactured an equaliser to make it 3-3.
Tynedale’s keeper then proved the star of the show in the closing minutes as she produced several excellent saves to keep Pools at bay and ensure the points were shared.
“Coming away with a draw from that game feels like a loss,” admitted boss Gibbon-Hayes afterwards.
“We need to be more ruthless in front of goal because at 3-2 we missed two or three gilt-edged chances.
“No doubt the girls will feel as frustrated as Andy and I but, thankfully in football, we have an opportunity to put it right next week.”
Full Time: Tynedale 3 Pools 3
Pools: Smith, Bartlett, Duffy-Smith, Stuart, Stabler (Hampson 80), Robinson, Smith, Rowbotham, Ingram (Portas 54), Bates, Pye.
Subs not used: Campbell, Carter.