South Shields Women stayed unbeaten in the league as they climbed to second after defeating Wakefield AFC 4-1 on a humid Sunday afternoon. Eve Gatens and Sophie Greener scored to give Shields an early hold of the game before the hosts pulled one back after an uncommon defensive mismatch. Parity was restored after the break when Gatens delivered a penalty before substitute Jade Dryden impressed by getting on the scoresheet late on. The result kept Shields at the right end of the table and after five games, the lasses still have the strongest offensive and defensive record heading into a string of competitive ties. Just the one change from last week’s narrow cup exit at 1st Cloud Arena saw the injured Meg Archbold - on social media duty during the game - swapped for goalscorer Greener. The lasses were bright from the start as within a minute Jen Wootten came close to goal, but her strike close from range failed to get past the Wakefield keeper. Scarlett Gowans pulled off a few fantastic saves of her own as she kept Shields comfortable early on as she withstood much of the Wakefield pressure. Greener came close a couple of times, only narrowly missing the target on two occasions before she managed to lay it off to Gatens, who dutifully delivered to give the lasses a one-goal lead. Becki McMahon paraded down the right-hand side and carried the ball up the line to the edge of the box before she offered Greener a chance to continue, who managed to involve Natalie May who struck low and unluckily didn’t get on the scoresheet. Shields didn’t rue their missed chances, however, as Greener managed to score from an almost impossible angle off the far wing, maneuvering the tightest of angles to create a second. As mentioned, a rare defensive lapse stopped a potential fourth clean sheet of the NERWFL Premier Division campaign, but it should be stressed in the end their attacking threat more than made up for only a moment of confusion. They were handed a penalty early in the second half for a handball, and as ever Gatens calmly tucked it past the Wakefield protector who couldn’t get a hand to it. That creative dominance continued, and Wakefield were timid for much of the remainder of the match. Shields added the pressure and managed to scramble a fourth thanks to oncoming substitute Jade Dryden, who was invited through on goal thanks to an incisive Gatens through ball. All in all, it was a convincing performance which should leave fans very excited about the team’s chances in the league this season. Next week sees the Mariners travel to New Ferens Park to take on Spennymoor Town for the second time in a cup competition - and the stakes will be raised as the lasses look to make up for August’s NERWFL League Cup exit. More information will be shared closer to matchday but as ever, supporters are more than welcome to come along and show their faith.
South Shields Women XI (numerical order): Gowans, Innes, May, Greener (Dryden), Legg (Emery), Gatens, Wootten (White), McMahon, Norton, Elliott-Wood (Walker), Foster (Taylor). Unused substitutes: None.