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SSFC Women add another pre-season win

South Shields Women made it two wins from two as they defeated Birtley Town Ladies 4-0 at Ford Hub on Sunday.

It was another convincing runout from the Mariners, who led within nine minutes thanks to an early strike from Sophie Greener.

Just like against Gateshead the previous week, the heat was turned up in the second half, and the gulf in quality certainly showed. Eve Gatens got Shields’ second as she scored from a direct corner in the 55th minute.

She followed it up, pairing up beautifully with Josie Foster on the wing in the 70th minute, before captain Becki McMahon got involved when she struck from range five minutes later.

The result will give head coach Matt Gatiss a lot to think about when his side faces Spennymoor in the NERWFL League Cup in just two weeks' time.

New signings Erin Taylor, Becca Emery and Ebony Longstaff slotted comfortably into the side and proved exactly the difference they could make in competitive fixtures when the time comes.

It would be fair to say the first half appeared subdued compared to the high intensity which supporters must have seen after the interval.

Shields came close, as did Birtley a handful of times, but besides Greener’s early opener there wasn’t a lot worthwhile to mention.

A few threaded passes unlocked the Birtley defence, which saw the impressive combination of Greener and Gatens come close on a few occasions early in the second half.

One goal became two in the 55th minute when Gatens’ direct corner looped over the Birtley keeper and she just couldn’t get a hand to it, scoring one of the more impressive goals you will see in a pre-season tie.

Foster found herself on the wing 15 minutes later with one ambition - find Gatens with lots of free space one-on-one.

Mission accomplished, and a finish that was never in doubt saw the lead extend to three.

Club captain McMahon got in on the act in the 75th minute, rounding off an excellent second half performance as she beat the opposition keeper, having cut it narrowly close to goal.

Shields are next in action next Sunday against Norton Ladies away from home in their final pre-season tie before competitive games begin.

South Shields: Gowans, Archbold, Trialist A, Trialist B, Emery, McMahon, Taylor, Greener, Walker, Longstaff, Foster. Subs: Ali, May, Legg, Gatens, Dryden.

Image: Craig McNair / ID Event Photography.

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