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Women's Match Reports

Women: Pools fall just short of survival

27 May 2024

Women's Match Reports

Women: Pools fall just short of survival

27 May 2024

Hartlepool United Women fell agonisingly short of survival in their final game of the season, losing 3-2 to Sunderland West End at Grayfields. Goals from Emily Stuart and Zara Johnson had Pools on the brink of safety but a second half turnaround from the visitors ultimately means they will be playing Northern Division football next season.

Hartlepool needed only a point in the game to guarantee safety but found themselves behind just eight minutes in. A ball in from the left-hand side evaded the Pools backline and was tapped in by Kristen Whitfield to give the visitors the lead.
 
Matt Gatiss’ side weren’t behind for long though; Jade Pye hit a free-kick from distance that was tipped onto the crossbar by the visiting goalkeeper and followed in by Stuart to level the game.
 
Pools now had the momentum and capitalised by taking the lead. Lottie Portas took aim from 20 yards and her shot was only pushed into the path of Zara Johnson, who fired into the back of the net.
 
The remainder of the half was a cagey affair as Hartlepool sought to hang on to the lead they had taken. They restricted West End to few chances and any shots on goal were comfortable for Pools keeper Ella Field. 
 
Sunderland West End came out for the second half with renewed energy and they were level just two minutes into the restart. A cross from the wing caused problems again and it was headed home by Alex Ross.
 
The equaliser shellshocked Hartlepool and West End capitalised by completing their comeback. A free-kick was struck hopefully into the area and hit an unfortunate Pools player on its way into the net.
 
Pools were now chasing the game, leaving themselves vulnerable to counter-attacks. West End headed wide from close-range and also hit the woodwork as they looked to finish the game off with a fourth goal.
 
Substitute Ella McIndoe had a positive impact up front for Pools. Her presence caused problems for the visiting defence and she went closest of anyone in blue and white to finding an equaliser. Her shot from inside the box looked destined for the corner of the net but was hooked away by a body on the line.
 
Sadly for Pools, the equaliser never came and despite a spirited effort, the result ultimately confirmed relegation. Hartlepool had done well to put themselves in contention for safety in recent weeks after a difficult campaign and there are positive signs for Gatiss and his side to build on next season.
 
Pools: Field, May (Garside), Stuart, Pye, C Geary, Thompson, Morrison (Pearson), Portas (A Geary), M Johnson, A Robinson (McIndoe), Z Johnson

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