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Women's Match Reports

Women: FA Cup progression secured against Ripon

2 October 2023

Women's Match Reports

Women: FA Cup progression secured against Ripon

2 October 2023

Craig Bage's side came out on top in goal-hungry performance away to Ripon City Ladies in the Women's FA Cup second qualifying round on Sunday afternoon.

Pools started brightly and created their first opportunity following a good passage of play. Within five minutes, Steph Bilcliff was played through only to see the home goalkeeper save bravely at her feet.

With the home defence playing high, there were plenty of opportunities to play balls in behind for Bilcliff, Katie Robinson and Anya Geary to run onto. The Hartlepool trio were all denied however with several saves from the Ripon shot-stopper.

The deadlock was broken in the 19th minute when Bilcliff found herself one-on-one with the goalkeeper, and this time she showed great technique and composure by rounding her opponent and slotting home.

But Ripon created a few chances of their own and it was only minutes before they equalised. Following a mix up at the back from Pools, the ball was closed down by the opposition attack and it resulted in a fine shot which flew into the net to make it 1-1.

Pools were on top with possession and were creating good opportunities but several offside calls caused frustration. That was put to an end after Robinson drove past her opponent and crossed in for Geary who headed into the back of the net, regaining Hartlepool's lead.

The second half saw Bage make changes with Robinson and Geary being withdrawn for the experienced pairing of Hannah Dixon and Zara Johnson upfront. That saw an immediate impact with Dixon getting on the scoresheet in the 46th minute, before Bilcliff notched her second of the game to make it 4-1.

Ripon continued to press with their counter-attacking style, but ruthless finishing from Pools saw further goals continue to go in. Dixon and Johnson scored braces before Ripon grabbed a consolation with a driven strike from distance.

Bilcliff joined Dixon with a hat-trick in the dying minutes, securing a 9-2 win on the road for Pools.

In the third qualifying round, Hartlepool have been drawn away to Gateshead FC Ladies. The tie is scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 22.


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