Caitlin Bates scored both goals as promotion-chasing PoolsWomen kicked-off 2020 with a solid 2-0 win at Redcar Town on Sunday afternoon.
After a Christmas break, Pools were keen to start the New
Year with a positive result but they knew they were unlikely to have it alltheir own way at Mo Mowlem Memorial Park.
Jonathan Gibbon-Hayes' side began the game with a fairly
strong wind behind them and used it to their advantage to get on the front footand force a succession of corners in the opening minutes.
The pressure led to a breakthrough on eight minutes when Bates' inswinging corner from the left deceived everyone and flew in to the net direct to give Pools a 1-0 lead.
On 20 minutes it could have been 2-0 when Justine Robinson skilfully
slalomed between three Redcar defenders before being dragged to the ground in
the area – but the home keeper made a stunning save to deny Robyn Ingram fromthe penalty spot.
The Redcar shot-stopper again came to the rescue just before the half-hour mark when Bates raced through on goal but a brilliant one-handed save prevented Pools from making it 2-0.
However, the second goal finally arrived nine minutes before
the break as Robinson drove at the Redcar defence, traded passes with Robyn
Foster and then drove in to the box before unselfishly squaring for Bates torifle a finish in to the top corner.
The second half developed in to a real battle as conditions continued to make it difficult for both sides to play.
Pools almost made it 3-0 on the hour when Robinson's shot was saved by the Town keeper, who then also reacted a couple of minutes later to thwart Foster after good work from Robinson and Faye Garside.
At the other end, Pools goalkeeper Becks Lillystone was also
forced in to action when she made a superb save to prevent the hosts fromgetting back in to the game.
Pools had to defend with determination as the minutes ticked
by and were also grateful to Lillystone for another fine save near the end toprotect the clean sheet and help clinch three points.
“It wasn't a great game of football due to the conditionsbut I always felt that we were in control,” insisted Gibbon-Hayes afterwards.
“For me, the girls showed a huge drive and togetherness and
to see the players making 40-yard recovery runs in the final few minutes showedhow much it means for them to play for the Club.
“We now have 11 cup finals to play in if we want to go and
win the league but I have every faith in this group of players as we preparefor them.”
Full Time: RedcarTown 0 Pools 2
Pools: Lillystone, Bartlett, Stuart, Hanratty, Garside, Ingram, Foster, Robson, Robinson, Pye (Gutcher 70), Bates.
Subs not used: Wilson, Hammond-Garrington.