Updated: Sep 5
South Shields Women soared to the top of the NERWFL Premier Division after defeating Hull United 4-0 away from home on the opening day thanks to a blistering final 10 minutes.
Debutant Jaz Elliott-Wood provided Sophie Greener with Shields’ opener just before half-time, before Eve Gatens secured a hat-trick of assists as Becca Emery, Becki McMahon and Ebony Longstaff got on the scoresheet late on. Head coach Matt Gatiss made two changes to the side which exited the NERWFL League Cup a fortnight ago, with Elliott-Wood and Ellie White starting. Alliyah Ali was initially named in the starting 11 but was replaced following the warm-ups by Zoe Norton, only to be swapped five minutes later. Scarlett Gowans, in net for the lasses, was given the player of the match award for a string of convincing saves which contributed to the side keeping their first clean sheet since a 5-0 home thrashing against Harrogate Town in April. Considering the team has only registered four clean sheets, including this Sunday, since the start of last season in the league it just adds to the achievement of keeping the hosts at bay. Shields found their opener on the brink of half-time, when Elliott-Wood fed a through ball to Greener, who bypasssed the Hull defence. She brushed past their number 14 before cutting inside as she lashed a strike past goalkeeper Sharla Cone. The lasses started the second half as brightly as they ended the first, and an opportune afternoon turned brighter when Demi Thomas was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 56th minute. But it wasn’t until the last 10 minutes that Shields turned up the heat, when they transformed a convincing narrow victory into a demolition job. Josie Foster handed Emery a chance on the edge of the box, before she rocketed her effort past the helpless Cone. And less than two minutes later, the lasses made it three. Meg Archbold and Gatens combined a routine free-kick arrangement which fell to Cone, who spilled the ball. There was little risk of fumbling a tap-in and captain McMahon added to Shields’ ever-growing tally. Jade Dryden started the attack which got Shields’ fourth, after threading a ball through to Gatens who ran to pick up the pieces and launch an offensive up the field. She outmuscled Hull United’s number 25 and initiated a cross which met substitute Longstaff, having come on the pitch just moments previously, who waited in the wings to get a goal of her own. Up next in the league for the lasses is Redcar Town Ladies on Sunday at 2pm, at the Mo Mowlam Memorial Park (TS10 5BW). More details will be announced closer to matchday.
South Shields Women: Gowans, May, Archbold, Greener, Legg, Gatens, Wootten, McMahon, Norton, Elliott-Wood, White. Subs (all used): Dryden, Norton, Longstaff, Foster, Ali.
Image: Craig McNair / ID Event Photography.