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Women's Match Reports

Women: Pools salvage draw in enthralling fashion

18 September 2023

Women's Match Reports

Women: Pools salvage draw in enthralling fashion

18 September 2023

Hartlepool United Women got their first point of the season against Wakefield, sharing the spoils in an incredible 5-5 draw at Grayfields. Despite going ahead on two separate occasions, Pools ended up trailing in the game until a late equaliser rescued a point.

Pools came out of the blocks flying and were 2-0 up within the first ten minutes. A great team move found Zara Johnson and the winger’s delivery was fired in at the back post by Hannah Dixon. Johnson turned goalscorer two minutes later, coolly slotting under the goalkeeper to get Craig Bage’s side off to a dream start.

Wakefield are an experienced fifth tier outfit, finishing third last campaign, and they weren’t going to roll over. After a succession of corners, a delivery was flicked in at the near post to reduce the deficit in the 23rd mintue.

The visitors levelled the game soon afterwards. A shot from the edge of the box was hit into the top corner to level the game at 2-2.

Pools regrouped and hit back by taking the lead once more. Zara Johnson netted her second of the game, Lauren Gray’s searching ball forward found Johnson and the winger lobbed the goalkeeper before finishing into an empty net.

The second half continued in the same vein as the first with both sides attacking throughout, as end to end as a game could be. Dixon had a strong effort from 25 yards saved while Ranson was called into action to keep out a free kick.

Once again, Pools got themselves into a two goal lead. Captain Emily Stuart, up from the back, nodded in Alisha Smith’s centre to make it 4-2 in the 57th minute. The hosts may have thought they were on the way to their first victory of the season.

However, the pendulum soon swung back the way of Wakefield. The visitors brought it back to 4-3 in the 65th minute with a similar effort to their second and took the game to a Pools side who were struggling to relieve the pressure.

The visitors equalised in the 79th minute, firing in a rebound from close range, and they were given the ideal chance to complete the turnaround. Faye Garside was deemed to have handled in the area and the referee pointed to the spot. The penalty was converted into the bottom left corner, putting Wakefield 5-4 up with four minutes remaining.

The game had one final twist though and Hartlepool salvaged a point late on. Dixon and the visiting goalkeeper challenged each other for a ball, the Pools attacker came out on top, took it round the stopper and tapped in an equaliser. Despite protests from the visitors over the way Dixon had intercepted, the goal stood and both sides had something to show from what had been an exhilarating 90 minutes of football.


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