An enthusiastic Spennymoor Town side knocked South Shields Women out of the NERWFL League Cup at the first opportunity on Sunday, as the lasses fell to a 3-0 defeat at Harton Welfare.
The visitors took the lead just before the break when Scarlett Gowans was beaten from range thanks to Autumn Colledge’s impressive strike.
Colledge bagged her second and third of the afternoon in quick succession when play restarted and Shields didn’t manage to get back into the game, despite spells of confidence early on.
It will be a disappointing result for head coach Matt Gatiss as before the game there were hopes that the Mariners could compete for silverware in cup competitions.
But attention firmly turns towards Hull United on the opening day of the league season in two weeks to put things right.
Shields did start brightly, however. Sophie Greener latched an early shot within a minute of the match starting which hit the crossbar and the chances kept coming.
Greener got a header to the end of an Archbold free-kick but she couldn’t keep it down. It was a great piece of set-piece play, an aspect which the Mariners will be hoping to exploit at times this season.
Greener yet again had a chance of her own - she pinged the ball beautifully running past Colledge and had just enough pace to outrun Shannon Reed as well, but Sophie Miller managed to get a hand to it.
That isn’t to say Spennymoor threatened because before their goal they did have chances of note: Olivia Mole delivered an exquisite through ball from the halfway line which found Colledge.
Gowans was unable to catch the resulting ball which forced Zoe Norton into play to defend Shields from an opener against the run of play.
An identical situation happened minutes later, just without the need for Norton as Gowans managed to scramble together just in time to protect the goal net.
Barring Colledge’s hat-trick, the second half was slightly more subdued as Spennymoor took more control to see the game out.
Eve Gatens came close from a free=kick, while Erin Taylor was called into action to stop Colledge bagging a fourth of the afternoon.
Regardless, there are plenty of lessons to take from the afternoon’s experience which will be taken into account when the league season starts in a fortnight.
South Shields Women (numerical order): Gowans, Innes, May, Archbold, Greener, Legg, Gatens, Wootten, McMahon, Norton, Walker. Subs: Ali, Dryden, Taylor, Longstaff, Foster.