Lily Jackson smashed a hat-trick as Moors Ladies registered another strong performance to trounce Gateshead 5-1 at New Ferens Park on Sunday afternoon.
The eye-catching display was enough to see Moors make ground on the teams above them in the table and they now sit just two points behind leaders Hartlepool United, with three games in hand.
Billy Shackleton’s side actually started Sunday’s contest a little slowly with some sloppy passing allowing Gateshead to get an early foothold in the game.
However, on 18 minutes fortune was on their side when the referee adjudged the Gateshead defender to have fouled Jackson inside the box. Autumn Colledge kept her nerve amongst the visitors’ protests to blast Moors into the lead from the resultant penalty.
The official gave an equally dubious penalty to the away side moments later as Coral Colledge attempted a clearance and Gateshead levelled things up from 12 yards.
Parity didn’t last long though as Moors began to get into their stride and Meg Foster slipped Jackson through on goal and she converted confidently to restore the lead for Shackleton’s side just a minute later.
Jackson then added a brilliant third before the break. Racing to close down a Gateshead defender on the edge of the box, the 16-year-old robbed possession and spun to chip a beautiful finish over the stranded goalkeeper to make it 3-1.
Moors were back at it right at the start of the second half when Courtney Mole threaded a wonderful ball through for Autumn Colledge who calmly placed home her second of the afternoon to give the home side breathing space.
Courtney Mole was beginning to really pull the strings in the centre of the park and her vision helped create further good chances for Autumn Colledge and Jackson who were denied by the overworked Gateshead keeper.
However, Jackson got the better of the stopper on 54 minutes when she once again went chasing as Gateshead tried to pass out from the back, pinching the pocket of the keeper before ramming in Moors’ fifth goal to complete her hat-trick.
After that, it was a professional job done by Moors who kept possession well to see the game through to the final whistle and claim three precious points.
“To win 5-1 against a side like Gateshead is fantastic and I don’t think I could have asked for anything more,” said delighted boss Shackleton afterwards.
“Having said that, today could easily have been 7-1 or 8-1 and that is something we will keep on working on but to get three points against a difficult rival was our top priority.
“Next Sunday becomes really important for us now when we play leaders Hartlepool at The Brewery Field – it’s a game we’re really excited about and we can’t wait for it to come around.
“Hopefully we can get some big support behind us at the stadium again because that really helps the girls and could give us the edge in what should be a really exciting encounter.”
Tickets for Sunday’s game at The Brewery Field are on sale online now – click here for full information.
Full Time: Moors 5 Gateshead 1
Moors: Doonan, C Colledge, Welch-Davison, O Mole, Middleton, Knox, C Mole, Hemmingway, Foster, A Colledge, Jackson.
Subs: McGovern (55), Salkeld (75), Farrugia (65), Seymour (75), Whittle (65).