Town Ladies returned to North East Regional league action for the first time in the new decade on Sunday with an away trip to South Shields where they would start off the new year in emphatic fashion, recording an impressive 5-1 victory to extend their lead at the top of the division.
A hattrick from the free scoring Lindsey Whitton and goals from Sophie Tinson and Beth Davies sealed the three points in South Shields.
Town started the game positively with the strike partnership of Tinson and Whitton looking lively from the off. Tinson saw an effort go wide in the first minute, before Whitton had a strike tipped onto the bar in the fourth minute.
Town would have to wait until the 19th minute to open the scoring, a Whitton freekick from 25 yards out evading everyone but her strike partner, who stabbed an effort into the back of the net for her seventh goal of the campaign.
Unfortunately for Town a lapse in concentration in the 27th minute would bring South Shields back into the game.
The away defence seemed to switch off, which allowed the Shields attacker to pull off an impressive chipped finish over keeper Kelly Jackson-Powell.
Despite the equaliser, Town heads didn’t drop and almost immediately from kick off Whitton was picked out and hit the back of the net to restore Town's one goal cushion.
The second half would bring more of the same from Town, but they would have to wait until the 69th minute to extend their lead in what was becoming quite a scrappy fixture.
In a lovely team goal Rosie Gill and Tinson linked up well, Tinson then played through Whitton who rounded the keeper and slotted home. A lovely finish from the centre back turned striker.
Harrogate’s goal scoring exploits would not be over just yet, in the 90th minute Davies pulled off a lovely strike for the fourth of the afternoon and then in added time Whitton grabbed her hattrick, and 15th of the season, to give Town a comfortable 5-1 victory and their first three points of 2020.
Town: Jackson-Powell, Marsden, Foyer, Macdonald, Wilson, Gill (Adams 75), Davies, Jennings, Crispin (Mcgregor 63), Tinson, Whitton
Report by Isaac Martin