HTAFC Ladies came form a goal down to win 3-2 against an impressive Hartlepool side on Sunday afternoon at The CNG Stadium.
Second half goals from Grace Foyer and a brace from Sophie Tinson put Town on their way to victory in a game in which for long periods was tightly contested.
After an impressive win last weekend against North Yorkshire rivals York City, Jon Maloney’s side had hit an impressive run of form when they invited Hartlepool Utd WFC to The CNG Stadium for this weekend’s fixture.
Before kicking off Hartlepool sat in second place in the North East Regional Women’s Premier League, three points above Town.
The Pools also defeated York in their last fixture, beating them five goals to one away from home.
When the two sides met earlier in the season Hartlepool won the tie in what was an absolute goal fest, six goals to Harrogate’s three.
After coming off the bench against York and bagging herself a brace, Kirsty Mcgregor returned to the starting line-up, making her third start of the season and looking to add to her impressive tally of four goals.
Although weather conditions were cold yet dry for a fixture, a low sun meant that visibility was going to be limited for both teams.
Hartlepool started the brighter of the two sides, looking confident going forward but it was Town’s number five Lindsey Whitton who had the first real chance of the game.
In the fourth minute Whitton was picked out from a Town freekick and found herself free on the edge of the six-yard box, but couldn’t get her shot on target.
Hartlepool looked like an impressive outfit in the opening exchanges; a big physical side that could also pass the ball round.
The opening 20 minutes was a very tight affair, both sides were playing some good football and breaking through the oppositions defensive line, but no clear-cut chances materialised.
In the 25th
minute Kirsty Mcgregor broke free after The Pool defence misjudged a through ball, But Mcgregor couldn’t add to her goal tally this season and hit her shot straight at the visiting keeper.
With the game continuing to be closely contested, after some good play from Town in the 41st minute Bekkie Hale found herself in space in the box and hit a sweet effort towards the Hartlepool goal, but couldn’t guide It under the bar.
The second half started off with a similar feel to the first, Hartlepool were looking like more of an attacking threat than Town and that was shown in the 50th
minute as the Harrogate defence failed to track one of the Pool strikers who got a shot away at the edge of the six-yard area to put her side 1-0 up.
But Town had a quick reply, In the 54th
minute after a poor clearance from the keeper thanks to good pressure from Tinson, Captain Foyer found her herself one on one with the Pool keeper and managed to slot it home to bring the game level; Foyer’s third goal of the campaign.
Moments later defensive heroics from Rebecca Davies and Whitton kept the game level after a Hartlepool went on the attack straight from the kick off.
Despite Hartlepool stringing together several passes in the middle of the park, a lapse of concentration in the 68th
minute allowed Town defender Racheal Macdonald to release Tinson, who ran though the Pool defensive line and managed to find the back of the net after a one vs. one dual with the pool keeper; her 16th
goal of the season.
In the 79th
minute, Tinson doubled her tally for the day, after being played through again the prolific striker showed quick skill to beat her defender and slot it home.
Three minutes later, Hartlepool pulled one back, there striker struck a sweet half volley in the box which ricoched off the bar and past Town stopper Kelly Jackson-Powell; making the closing eight minutes a tense spectacle.
In the 85th
minute it was very nearly 3-3 as Hartlepool whipped a ball into the middle and their striker was left to battle for the ball with keeper Jackson-Powell, who luckily for Town managed to get a hand to the looping cross and knock it away to safety.
In the final minute of normal time The Pool came even closer to levelling the game, hitting the crossbar with a freekick from around 30 yards out.
Despite the late chances for Hartlepool, Maloney’s side managed to hold and a victory against an impressive Pool Outfit to stretch their winning run to three games in a row in all competitions.
Harrogate Town Ladies: Jackson-Powell, James, Davies, Foyer, Whitton, Macdonald, Macgregor (Ndhlovev 74), Clayton, Tinson, Hale (Randall 60), Adams
Subs not used: Ridley
Goals: Foyer 54 Tinson 68, 79
Report by Isaac Martin