Hartlepool United Women’s tricky start to 2023/24 continued in their second game of the season, losing 5-1 at Sunderland West End. Despite going ahead in the 18th minute, four unanswered second half goals made it a miserable afternoon for those in blue.
The game kicked off in competitive fashion with both sides enjoying chances in the early stages. The hosts nodded over from an in-swinging corner while Robyn Foster had two chances on goal, including a chance that rolled agonisingly wide.
Foster wouldn’t be denied for a third occasion and put Pools ahead. Leo Kennedy’s ball forward was flicked on by Steph Bilcliff into the path of Foster and the number seven charged down on goal before firing into the bottom left corner.
West End were determined to hit back and soon asked questions of the Pools defence. Leo Kennedy reacted well in the 26th minute to clear a goalbound effort but the eventual pressure told. A searching cross was nodded in by Allison Ferris to level the game.
The remainder of the first half played out in a subdued manner. Pools saw plenty of the ball and had some nice passing interchanges but didn’t threaten to retake the lead. Going in level was a fair reflection of the first 45.
The hosts quickly took control of the second half and went ahead within five minutes of the restart. A free kick from the edge of the box was hit low, catching out the Pools wall and finding the back of the net.
Pools turned up the pressure after falling behind, with Foster and Alisha Smith both seeing efforts saved, but soon found themselves 3-1 down. Ferris played in Jones who made no mistake in slotting past Ranson.
The rest of the game was largely impacted by the weather conditions with heavy rain disrupting the playing surface. West End adapted to this the stronger and netted two more goals through Ferris and Jones, dampening Pools’ mood on a rainy day.
Eventually, with the storm showing no signs of calming, the referee decided to abandon the game. While Pools may have had hopes of a reprieve, the 85 minutes played were deemed to have been enough for the result to stand.