South Shields Ladies returned to winning ways on Sunday as the Mariners defeated Farsley Celtic 4-1 at Harton Welfare.
A brace from Sophie White and a goal apiece from Alex Miller and Caitlin Bates saw Shields take all three points in what was a dominant victory.
The hosts started brightly and had the first chance of the game with only two minutes on the clock. Bates’ mazy run opened up space for a shot, but she fired straight at the goalkeeper. Annece Legg then tried her luck from distance, but the goalkeeper matched the effort once again.
Eve Gatens showed a great bit of skill to nutmeg her marker on the turn and found herself one-on-one. Her strike was inches away from giving Shields the lead, but the angle was just too tight.
Bates then had another opportunity to fire the Mariners into the lead when a brilliant cross by Gatens found the forward, but the goalkeeper somehow denied her from point-blank range and cleared the danger.
It was one-way traffic for the majority of the first-half, and Becki McMahon forced another fantastic save. A first-time effort from distance made the goalkeeper scramble across her line, and she somehow clawed the ball away.
Shields finally found the breakthrough when Bates held the ball up inside the Farsley box and cut it across to White, who poked into an empty net to give her side a well-deserved lead.
Despite facing large periods of pressure, Farsley equalised moments later as a well-struck free-kick found its way into the bottom corner, out of the reach of Scarlett Gowans.
Just on the stroke of half-time, Bates was inches away from restoring Shields’ lead. A dipping effort from the edge of the box struck the bar and went away from danger.
The Mariners picked up where they left off after the break as Gatens tried an audacious half-volley from distance, but the goalkeeper palmed the strike away for a corner.
It wasn’t long before Shields were back ahead, and they were good value for it. Bates turned her defender inside the area and squeezed the ball into the near post from a tight angle.
Seconds after the restart, Gatens nearly made it three. Her powerful effort was just the wrong side of the post, but the Mariners were keeping the tempo and pressure high.
Moments later, Shields did make it three. A brilliantly weighted floated free-kick by Megan Archbold found Alex Miller, who rose highest at the back post and powered a header into the far corner.
Only a minute after the restart, White made it two for her on the day and four for Shields. A scramble inside the box fell for White, who reacted well and tapped the ball home to give her team a comfortable three-goal lead.
As Shields looked to see out the remainder of the game, Legg was shown a red card, but the Mariners still comfortably secured the three points.
Head coach Ben Garrity said: “Overall, I thought it was another very good performance.
“In the first half we lacked a bit of intensity and tempo to our game, but we still created a lot of chances, which shows what the girls are capable of.
“Full credit to Farsley though, in the way they set up and the conditions of the game, as they made it very hard for us to play our football.
“At half-time I asked the girls to play with more urgency, more intensity and more tempo to our whole game.
“The lasses listened and the second half was totally different. I can’t remember Farsley having a chance in the second half, which shows how good they are when they play at the right intensity.
“As I said, overall it was another very good and promising performance which puts us in good spirits for our next big game this Sunday against Harrogate.”
Image by ID Event Photography.