Amy Sims’ second hat-trick of the season ensured the Ewe Rams continued their unbeaten start to 2023 with a 5-1 victory against Stoke City Women.
Sims’ hat-trick alongside goals from Becky McGrother and Camille Jenkins ensured consecutive wins for the Ewe Rams following last Sunday’s 2-1 victory against bottom of the table Loughborough Lightning.
The victory means that Sam Griffiths’ side remain in fourth place and move three-points clear of fifth-placed Huddersfield.
A lively start to the game for Derby saw two chances coming within the first five minutes through McGrother and Keira Barry, as both players tried their look from range early on.
Excellent play by Anita Gaspar to successfully hold off two Stoke players to feed Barry on the left-wing to create a brilliant opportunity for three Derby players, but none could convert.
Strong shouts for a penalty came in the 21st minute as a Stoke defender went to ground just inside the area with the Derby players claiming the ball hit her hand, only for the referee to wave away the calls.
Stoke had their only real chance of the first-half through Kivel in the 24th minute as she fired over the bar from just outside the area with her left footed effort.
Derby took the lead in the 38th minute as McGrother crossed the ball from the left-wing into a dangerous area where Sims was on hand to tap the ball into net and give Derby the lead.
Six minutes later, McGrother added the second goal. Her attempted cross looped over Liz Craven and into the far corner.
Imogen Maguire ensured Derby did not concede as she made an outstanding point-blank save from close range following Beth Roberts’ cross.
Moments later, Sims added her second and Derby’s third in the 49th minute. For the second time of the game another cross ended up in the back of Craven’s net.
Sims almost had her hat-trick in the 52nd minute as her effort went just wide of the top corner from Barry’s pullback.
Stoke did pull a goal back in the 57th minute. In a game of crosses with another one played into the area, which Kivel converted with a well-placed half-volley.
Sims did eventually complete her hat-trick in the 61st minute, taking her tally to 15 for the season. The ball found its way into the penalty area where the Ewe Rams’ top scorer was on hand to tap home.
Derby were denied a fifth towards the end of the game, after the goal was judged to be offside by the linesman.
Jenkins finished the scoring for Derby in stoppage time as she poked home from close range, following a scramble inside the area.
The Ewe Rams will look to continue their strong start to the new year as they travel to Merseyside next Sunday to take on Liverpool Feds.
Derby County Women
Maguire; Ward, Clarkson, Jackson; McGrother (68), Joyce, Wilson, Barry; Camwell (60), Gaspar, Sims (68).
Subs: Morgan, Sutherland (60), Hilliard (68), Jenkins (68), Rhodes-Andrews.
Stoke City Women
Craven; Thompson, Roberts, Axten, Bowyer, Gibson, Holder (72), Barber (72), Richardson, Woodbyrne, Kivel.
Subs: Hobson, Bramford (72), Ebsworth, Wilshaw, Jones (72), Delle.
MITCH BARWELL UOD JOURNALIST