Women Clinch Away Win To Move Third

Savanna Robson, Justine Robinson and Caitlin Bates, Hartlepool United Women

Pools Women moved up to third in the NERWFL Premier Division with a superb win away at promotion rivals Harrogate Town on Sunday.

Savanna Robson (2), Caitlin Bates and Justine Robinson were all on target as Jonathan Gibbon-Hayes’ side picked up a precious three points at The CNG Stadium.

Pools came out of the traps quickly and were in front inside the first minute when a great switch of play from Sarah Rowbotham released Robinson and her attempted chip was saved by the keeper but Robson was there to slot home the rebound.

Rowbotham then had a header from a corner cleared off the line before Pools doubled their lead with just seven minutes gone. This time keeper Becks Lillystone brilliantly found Bates on the halfway line and she drove at the Harrogate full-back before cutting inside to finish well for 2-0.

The home side then found their feet and pulled a goal back on nine minutes when Lindsey Whitton found the net after Pools failed a clear a ball in to their penalty area.

The game finally started to settle down in to some sort of rhythm after that but Pools came close to making it 3-1 just after the half-hour mark when Robyn Foster fired just over following good work down the left flank.

A third Pools goal did arrive two minutes before half-time though as Robson turned provider to send skipper Robinson through and she clinically found the net from twenty yards.

The hosts knew they needed to begin the second half positively and they got the perfect start when they pulled another goal back just a minute after the restart, Holly Smith scoring to make it 3-2.

The goal seemed to stun Pools and Town took full advantage, building some momentum and getting back on level terms on 49 minutes when a lack of concentration at the back allowed Smith to hit the net again.

Pools took a little time to clear their heads but could have restored their lead on 56 minutes when Robson shot just over from long-range, while Robinson also sent an effort just wide of the target.

The pressure paid off on the hour when more neat play from Rowbotham, Bates and Robyn Ingram engineered the opportunity for the impressive Robson to go through one-on-one and she rounded the keeper before slotting home from a tight angle to make it 4-3.

That proved the decisive moment and Pools finished the game strongly, only denied further goals by a strong showing from Town keeper Kelly Jackson-Powell.

The victory saw Pools leap up to third spot in the table, just five points behind leaders Wallsend but with some four games in hand.

“That was an incredible win for us against a side who are tipped to be one of the challengers for the league title,” admitted Gibbon-Hayes afterwards.

“It was an amazing stadium to go and play in, and we responded to that by putting in a great performance.

“I thought the team was outstanding and we carried a massive threat going forward – lapses in concentration was the only concern which allowed Harrogate back in to the game at the start of the second half.

“We are placed well in the table now and I have a faith in my players and the togetherness we showed on the pitch today can take us a long way.”

Full Time: Harrogate Town 3 Pools 4

Pools: Lillystone, Bartlett, Stuart, Hine, Hanratty (Garside 70), Ingram (Pye 70), Rowbotham, Robinson, Robson, Bates, Foster.
Subs not used: Skull, Gutcher.