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SSFC Women's promotion dream ended with heavy Barnsley FC defeat

South Shields Women’s dreams of lifting silverware were put to rest on Sunday afternoon as they were battered 5-1 by a convincing Barnsley FC Women outfit.

Results elsewhere mean that the Mariners can no longer win the NERWFL Premier Division, and they head into Wednesday’s fixture against Sunderland West End Ladies with pride to play for.

Although Shields will be comforted by Jaz Elliott-Wood’s bullet header (similar to her goal against Spennymoor Town Ladies a handful of weeks ago) it was nowhere near enough to match things up. 

Head coach Alex Miller started Ellie White following her midweek brace against Alnwick Town Ladies, while Sophie Greener was dropped to the bench to make way. 

Phoebe Dixon came back into the fold but was an unused substitute.

The first real chance on Shields’ part came from a free-kick. Elliott-Wood drifted the ball into the box and found Zoe Norton who struck a header which glanced beyond the post.

Jen Wootten made numerous last-ditch tackles to stop an opposition attack or dangerous through ball, and she did so to prevent double goalscorer Madison Foye threatening more.

Ashleigh Ridsdel-Harrison made a fantastic save to stop Eve Gatens’ corner from challenging as her gloved touch evaded Elliott-Wood reaching it, from only a few yards out.

The following corner ensued chaos - Elliott-Wood tried the same thing, the exact thing she was successful with later in the first half - and it would have gone in if not for a last-gasp clearance off the line.

But by the time Shields scored, Barnsley had already found two goals in quick succession.

First, Charley Evans pinged a ball over the Mariners’ backline which left Foye through on goal to defeat Scarlett Gowans from a one-on-one.

Second, just two minutes later, Betty Cheetham ran around White, knocked it in front of Wootten and Alayna Millard was there to rinse and repeat. 

Barnsley’s third can only be described as a true goal of the season candidate: Millard struck from 40 yards out, knowing Gowans was off her line, and amazingly it found the back of the net.

Their fourth was potentially unlucky on Shields’ part given a looping ball missed Olivia Mole who tried to get to it, and there was nothing Annece Legg or Gowans could do thanks to Foye’s sweet lob over them. 

Four became five, to round up a thoroughly dispiriting afternoon for the lasses, when Cheetham found Gowans off her line again and tried her luck, to great celebrations among the visiting party.  

The final game of the season takes place this Wednesday at Sunderland West End for a 7pm kick-off. 

More details will be shared when they are available - follow along on Twitter/X and Instagram to hear the latest updates first. 

South Shields Women: Gowans, Innes, May, Legg, Gatens, Curle, Wootten, Norton, Elliott-Wood, White, Mole. 

Substitutes: Ali, Greener, Dixon, Longstaff, Foster. 

Barnsley FC Women: Ridsdel-Harrison, Rigby, Evans, Dawson, Chincharo, Millard, Brown, Foye, Cheetham, Ayrton, Turton-Burrell. 

Substitutes: Gregory, Barraclough, Nichols, Wilson, Holland. 

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