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SSFC Women go top with dramatic win

A late comeback by South Shields Women took them top of the league in a transformed second half against Harrogate Town. Tallulah Freeman worked an incredible effort from range to give the hosts a lead close to the break, before Jaz Elliott-Wood responded with an equally fantastic strike late in the game. Shields were handed a penalty for a challenge on Jade Dryden with a minute left, which Annece Legg promptly struck home to round up a hard-fought victory. Results elsewhere confirmed the Mariners’ spot at the top of the NERWFL Premier Division for the foreseeable future, and an exciting challenge awaits to keep them there. For the most part the opening spell was quiet, with few quality chances created by either side, but it was the lasses who started off brightest. Becki McMahon scooped a swerving ball over to Sophie Greener who was primed in the box, but she couldn’t cleanly get to it. Harrogate opened the scoring around the 40th minute, which gave Shields a big challenge to overcome after the interval. The lateness of their comeback was paramount when the game was flipped on its head in the closing stages, as before then Shields couldn’t believe their lack of luck. Rebecca Hitchen tried twice from just inside the 18-yard box for the Sulphurites but her attempts were blocked by the dependable Scarlett Gowans. Shields’ lack of luck at that stage could be characterised by a chance in which Elliott-Wood’s free-kick hit the crossbar, before McMahon’s rebound from close range also hit the woodwork, while Erin Taylor a moment later did the same thing. It took a five-minute turnaround to do the trick but with it, the Mariners took a crucial three points back to South Shields. A string of home matches awaits the Mariners as we enter the festive run in. Harrogate will be the visitors next week, with further details as to next Sunday’s NERWFL Premier Division home match to be shared closer to matchday.

South Shields Women: Gowans, Ali, Innes (Taylor), May, Greener (Dryden), Legg, Dryden (White), McMahon, Norton, Elliott-Wood, Foster. Unused substitutes: Emery, Longstaff. Harrogate Town Women: Sandford, Whiley, Williams (Taylor), Long, Parkin (Stockdale), Oldridge (Whitehead), Hitchen (Lumsdon), Smith (Whitehead), Needham, Freeman, Devereux. Unused substitutes: None.

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