South Shields progressed to the Durham County FA Women’s Cup semi-final on Sunday after beating Hartlepool Pools Youth 5-1.
Goals from Eve Gatens, Caitlin Bates and Annece Legg saw the Mariners confidently seal their place in the last four.
The first chance of the game fell to Shields. Bates played a magnificent square ball to Sophie White, but her effort went just wide.
Seconds later, the away side took the lead when a powerful pass across goal by Bates was bundled into the net by a Hartlepool defender.
Gatens and Bates linked up numerous times in the opening proceedings, and nearly added a second as Bates’ goalbound effort was blocked.
Legg also tried an effort from outside the area, but the goalkeeper just managed to tip it over for a corner.
Bates was central to everything going forwards and almost doubled the Mariners’ lead, but her strike from the edge of the area stung the palms of the goalkeeper.
It wasn’t long before Shields added the inevitable second. A dangerous corner by Bates evaded the goalkeeper and Gatens thundered a volley into the top corner.
Shortly afterwards, Becki McMahon had the opportunity to make it three. Gatens played a great pass through to McMahon, but her effort was well-saved. Gabby Pedersen followed up with a long range lob which narrowly skimmed the post.
Legg tried another effort from distance, but the goalkeeper did well to hold on to her effort.
Shields continued to pile on the pressure. Legg produced a great save from the goalkeeper before Alex Miller forced her into another great save.
Seconds after the restart, Legg added a third as she stole the ball away from the defender and slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
From the restart, the Mariners grabbed a fourth. Bates fired an effort in from close range, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
Hartlepool did grab one back, however, when a goalmouth scramble was poked home after two great saves from Scarlett Gowans.
Bates struck a volley from the edge of the area which cannoned off the base of the post as the Mariners looked to restore their four-goal advantage.
Midway through the second half, they did just that when Gatens fired home a penalty.
Gatens nearly grabbed her hat-trick moments later. She did well to turn in the box, but her curling effort was just over.
After the game, Shields head coach Ben Garrity said: “It was a complete professional performance from the Lasses.
“I was really impressed with their attitudes and mentality as it’s very easy to drop your standards in games like that, and we definitely didn’t do that.
“During some of the phases of play, the creativeness in the final third was excellent.
“It’s great to see the Lasses playing with so much confidence and bravery on the ball, which is what we’ve been working on a lot in training.
“I was a bit disappointed about the lack of a clean sheet – I know the Lasses were too – but overall it was a very good and promising performance again.
“Our full focus in now on this week’s massive game away to York, who are unbeaten this season.
“We were beaten 5-1 by them earlier in the season, but the performances and training sessions over the past two or three months have been massively encouraging and that shows how far we’ve come.
“We’re right up for it and the Lasses, I’m sure, will relish the challenge ahead.”