Pools Women sent out a warning to their rivals in the NERWFL
Premier Division by smashing eight goals past leaders Wallsend at East Durham
Jonathan Gibbon-Hayes' side were playing only their third
league game of the season at the weekend and knew they faced a challenge
against a Wallsend side sitting top of the pile with four wins from their sevenoutings.
However, after a fairly even and competitive first half,
Pools simply blew their visitors away after the break with some stunningfootball and spectacular goals.
It was 1-0 to Pools on three minutes when Justine Robinson
drove forward and slipped an incisive ball through to Robyn Foster who finishedclinically.
The Wallsend keeper then had to make a smart save to keep
out Jenni Duffy-Smith's powerful drive, while Pools defender Becky Hanratty wasalert to clear a shot off the line at the other end.
The second goal arrived midway through the first half as Caitlin
Bates' through ball found Foster and she showed her pace to motor away from adefender and round the keeper before slotting home a cool finish for 2-0.
Pools looked to be cruising at that point but the visitors began
to get a foothold and pulled a goal back just before the half-hour mark aftersome lovely football and a brilliant finish over keeper Becky Lillystone.
And Pools were left stunning ten minutes later when Wallsend
grabbed an equaliser after more inventive play saw the ball put back acrossgoal and rammed in to the net at the far post.
The lead was restored just before the break though – and in
some style. A ball was fizzed in to the feet of Bates, who turned skilfully beforelashing an unstoppable shot in to the top corner from twenty yards.
The second half began in similarly close fashion but Bates'
second of the game swung things in Pools favour on 55 minutes when she left the
keeper rooted to the spot with a left-foot drive in to the far corner of thenet.
Straight from the kick-off Bates won possession back and fed
the ball forward for Robinson and she let fly with a trademark long-range
effort to add her name to the scoresheet in eye-catching fashion and make it5-2.
It was 6-2 before an hour had been played when Robyn Ingram
ran on to a loose ball 35 yards from goal and struck a sweet drive which leftthe keeper floundering once again as it flew in to the roof of the net.
The lead allowed boss Gibbon-Hayes to make some changes and
substitute Ellie Gutcher made an almost instant impact when she sneaked in at
the far post to fire in a seventh goal despite Wallsend's claims of an offside inthe build-up.
Fellow sub Lucy Hammond-Garrington then got in on the act
when she reacted quickest to Foster's shot being parried and fired in from therebound and make it 8-2.
There was still time for an uncharacteristic moment of
madness from experienced midfielder Duffy-Smith who stamped on an opponent
before lashing out at her for which she was rightly shown a straight red cardto leave Pools to finish the game with ten players.
Lillystone made a fine save to prevent Wallsend from
grabbing a consolation near the end, while Foster came close to grabbing herhat-trick only to see her powerful drive hit the cross bar.
“I think we've just made a statement,” insisted Gibbon-Hayesafterwards.
“Wallsend are sitting top of the table but we've just made astatement to the rest of the league that we mean business this season.
“There has been a frustration at games being postponed this
season but you could see from the 15 players that got on the pitch today thatthere is a hunger, and a real belief in the work that we're doing.”
Full Time: Pools 8 Wallsend 2
Pools: Lillystone, Bartlett, Stuart, Hind (Skull 74), Hanratty, Duffy-Smith, Rowbotham, Ingram (Hammond-Garrington 74), Robinson (Pye 58), Foster, Bates (Gutcher 74).
Subs not used: Smith.