Craig Bage shares 'relief' as Hartlepool United Women secure first league win over Harrogate Town
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Hartlepool earned their first three points of the season at the sixth attempt following their promotion back to the North East Regional Women’s Premier Division.
Bage’s side have been on the wrong end of a number of heavy defeats in the opening weeks of the campaign but claimed their first win to move off the bottom of the table.
Hannah Dixon and Justine Robinson scored the goals in a tight contest at Grayfields after Hannah Whitehead had levelled the scores for Harrogate.
Dixon might have given Pools the lead towards the end of the first half when spurning a golden opportunity one-on-one with the goalkeeper but she soon put that right in the second half when latching on to Leo Kennedy’s through ball, this time making no mistake.
But Pools weren’t in front for long as Harrogate levelled minutes later when Whitehead turned in from close range after Eleanor Hall’s shot had bounced back off the post.
Bage’s side weren’t to be denied this time, however, as the experienced Robinson secured the win with an excellent free kick.
“It’s a relief,” admitted Bage.
"They deserved it, they fought hard. We’ve had a rough start to the season. We’ve had some ups and downs, we haven’t been that far away from performances. We’ve had a couple of heavy defeats but that doesn’t always reflect on our performances, so I’m happy for them to get the three points and we can look to build on it going into the FA Cup.
“We’ve been asking for that defensive side of the performances. We haven’t been pressing from the front which has put pressure on and it’s always the back four that looks wrong when you’re conceding five or six, but it starts in the middle and we played that mid-block when we needed to and they did well.
“We’re still learning and adapting to this league but the FA Cup is a different standard now.”
Bage's side now turn their attention to the Women's FA Cup with a trip to Gateshead Ladies on Sunday, October 22 (2pm) following their 9-2 win over Ripon Ladies in the previous round.