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Curle bags hat-trick as SSFC Women run rampant vs West End

Sophie Curle made all the difference as South Shields Women stormed to a 4-1 victory against promotion hopefuls Sunderland West End Ladies on Sunday. 

The newly-signed forward got her first hat-trick for the Mariners as she netted her sixth goal in claret and blue - in just three games.

And the ever-prolific Eve Gatens managed to get one of her own near the end which rounded up a well-earned victory given the circumstances leading up the match.

Sophie Greener made the starting 11 while Alliyah Ali was named on the bench in Alex Miller’s first game as head coach, following the departure of Matt Gatiss earlier in the week.

Shields couldn’t have got off to a better start. Within five minutes they had broken the deadlock as Gatens launched a piercing run down the left wing before laying it off to Curle to open the scoring.

Zoe Norton tried one from just outside the 18-yard box minutes later and the pressure only ramped up from there.

Greener aimed to repeat the formula which sprung the opener into action down the right side but Summer Sawyer wasn’t threatened. 

Annece Legg forced the West End keeper into making a rash save which almost fumbled it into the back of the net, if not for the post being there when it mattered most. 

That isn’t to say West End didn’t have their fair share of chances but the first-half was well controlled by Shields and the message at the break was to continue as things were.

The match appeared to liven up a bit as the second half got underway, with a thrilling four goals as opposed to the gentle but solid start offered by the hosts.

Curle grabbed her second with a sensational rocket from range before Allison Ferris responded almost immediately for the visitors.

Everything was put beyond doubt when Norton twirled past Katherine O’Leary and laid it on a plate for Curle to find her third, and take home the match ball on a thrilling afternoon for Shields.

Gatens didn’t feel left out up top as she challenged and tested Sawyer all game but finally got her reward late on when she hit low and hard, and added to her own impressive goal tally this season.

Up next for Shields is the return of Barnsley FC Women, this time at home, as the team looks to make up for its late defeat against the side at the end of January. 

South Shields Women: Gowans, Innes, May, Greener, Legg, Gatens, Curle, Wootten, Norton, Elliott-Wood, Foster.

Substitutes: Ali, Emery, Dixon, Taylor, White.

Sunderland West End Ladies: Sawyer, Elliott, Minnis, Smith, Curtis, Simpson, Kaur, Hutchinson, Ross, Jones, Ferris. 

Substitutes: O’Leary, Thomson, Huskisson, Jones, Ellison. 

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