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SSFC Women extend perfect start at 1st Cloud Arena

South Shields Women continued their excellent start to the season with a 2-1 victory over Hull United at 1st Cloud Arena on Sunday.

A close-range finish from Gabby Pedersen, closely followed by a thunderous free-kick from Eve Gatens, completed a second half comeback for the Mariners.

It extended Ben Garrity’s side’s 100% start to the season, with Shields having emerged victorious in all six of their fixtures in all competitions.

They are level on points with leaders Wallsend in the NERWFL Premier Division, having played a game less than the North Tynesiders.

It was a positive return to 1st Cloud Arena for the lasses and they were backed by a vociferous home crowd.

They got off to a fast start as Gatens saw a shot from close range blocked and cleared. The Mariners saw another scramble in the box cleared shortly afterwards.

Hull struck the first blow as a spilled ball by Scarlett Gowans fell into the path of a forward, who lobbed the ball into an empty net.

Midway through the half, Shields were awarded a penalty after Natalie May was brought down by the goalkeeper. Gatens stepped up, but blazed the penalty over the bar as their first half frustrations continued.

As the half progressed, Hull became more comfortable and found a way past the Shields back line, but the cross was wayward.

Gatens had a chance with a free-kick from close range, but it flashed just wide of the post. On the stroke of half-time, Jen Wootten tried her luck but the effort was straight at the goalkeeper.

Shields took disappointment into their interval but will have felt confident of launching a fightback given some of the play they had demonstrated.

Pedersen levelled the scores shortly after the restart. Gatens did brilliantly to whip a dangerous cross into the box and Pedersen controlled well before slotting into an another net.

May stung the palms of the goalkeeper with a venomous effort, before Gatens forced another save, with Shields pushing to go ahead.

It wasn’t long before the Mariners did exactly that. Gatens thundered a free-kick into the far post from some distance, giving the goalkeeper no chance.

Hull had a chance almost immediately to level the scores. A dangerous free-kick was whipped towards goal, but Gowans made the save and held onto the ball.

There was ultimately no way back for the visitors as Shields sealed another impressive three points.

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