Matt Gatiss’ reign as South Shields Women head coach got off to a five-star opening, as Eve Gatens’ hat-trick helped give the lasses a 5-1 win over Gateshead Ladies on Sunday. A penalty in the sixth minute, calmly tucked away by the aforementioned Gatens, gave Shields the advantage heading into the break. She provided another two for the team in the 78th and 88th minutes, while Sophie Greener bagged two of her own in the 60th and 91st minutes. Gateshead drew one back to make it 2-1, but what followed firmly settled the tie on a breezy though warm Sunday afternoon.
The Heed had a few chances of their own but didn’t come close to a leveller before the break. A few changes at half-time meant Jade Dryden, Meg Archbold and Annice Legg were switched for new signing Erin Taylor and two trialists. Shields were far more composed on the ball than before, as they created chance after chance as the Mariners pressured the Gateshead opponents to force mistakes and find their way through. Gatens pinged the ball exquisitely through to Greener, who was able to clear the Heed defenders and strike it from the edge of the box into the Gateshead net to bag Shields’ second. Gateshead got their only goal of the tie a few minutes later, when Hannah Coatham’s free-kick struck the bar, and a trialist was in view to poke it just beyond keeper Scarlett Gowans. At this point it is fair to say Shields turned up the intensity - a word supporters might hear quite often this season - and before full-time the lasses had grabbed another three. Becki McMahon danced along the right-hand side of the pitch before spraying the ball from the by-line to Gatens, who was on hand to tap it into an empty net. Nice play between a trialist and Gatens saw her one-on-one with Gateshead keeper Carly Salmon, and it was a battle none expected to go any other way. Gatens got her acclaimed hat-trick, and a few moments later Greener managed to find her second when Salmon scuffed a long kick intended to clear the danger rather than create it. South Shields Women: Gowans, Ali, Innes, May, Archbold, Legg, Gatens, Dryden, Wootten, McMahon, Greener. Subs: Taylor, Foster, Robinson, Longstaff, Walker, Trialist A, Trialist B. Gateshead Ladies: Salmon, Orr, Halliday, Slade, Campbell, Douglas, Sharp, Thorpe, Pickering, Hoganson, Black. Subs: L Smith, Trialist, Murray, Coatham, M Smith.
Image: Craig McNair / ID Event Photography.