Derby County Women Development claimed another impressive victory on the road in which they ran out 4-0 victors over Doncaster Rovers Belles Development in the FAWNL Reserves Midland Division.
The Ewe Rams came out of the blocks in blistering style and took lead within the first two minutes, with Iesha Rollins doing well to find the run of Isabel Sheridan to finish smartly into the corner, despite the best efforts of Paige Johnson in the Doncaster goal getting a hand to it.
The early goal for Derby set the tone for the rest of the game with onslaughts of attacks, especially within the first ten minutes as Marli Rohabs-Andrews tried her luck, which forced Johnson into a good save following some good work on the right-hand side.
There were plenty of opportunities for the Ewe Rams to double their advantage and thought they could have had a penalty on the tenth-minute mark, with Sheridan going down following a challenge from Aleisha Howard for Doncaster, with the referee playing on.
As the half grew older, Derby grew in confidence as a brilliant ball in from Alex Owens found Rollins in the box with the keeper to beat. Following a smart save from Johnson in the back of Rollins’ attempt, the ball dropped to Laura Monk on the rebound and with the goal at her mercy, she could only smash it over the bar.
Derby managed to bag a deserved second goal with eight minutes to go, as a floated corner from the right from Rohabs-Andrews found an unmarked Monk, who only had to be there to head into the bottom left corner of the net to take a 2-0 lead at the break.
The second half kicked off in a very similar fashion to the first with Derby scoring an early goal to stamp their authority on the game.
Another brilliant ball in from the left from Owens managed to find Ruby Barnes unmarked inside the box in which she kept her composure to slotted home past a stranded Johnson.
Despite the scoreline, Doncaster were searching for that goal that their efforts deserved, with a strike on goal from Chloe Dean forcing Lola Smith into a comfortable save.
Owens was instrumental for the Ewe Rams all afternoon with her dangerous crosses, with another one finding Amelia Towers darting inside the box but she can only glance her effort wide of the far post.
Derby looked like a threat from set pieces all afternoon, in which a corner from Rohabs-Andrews looked like it could have looped in, but goalkeeper Johnson was equal to it as she managed to claw it out for another corner.
However, Derby were not contemptuous with just three goals as they look to assert their dominance, with Barnes doing well to keep the ball from two onrushing Doncaster defenders, with her effort from inside the box going agonisingly wide.
The Ewe Rams nearly had their fourth goal of the game shortly after, with a shot from distance from Nicole Lane taking a slight deflection in which the opposition goalkeeper failed to catch and when the ball looks to be crossing the line, Johnson saved brilliantly onto the crossbar.
Derby did eventually find their fourth goal of the game within the closing stages, with Abadi doing well to find the pass and the run of Sarah Newton in which she placed her effort into the corner of the far post to wrap up the three points on the road for the Ewe Rams.
Derby County Women Development’s next game in the FAWNL Reserves Midland Division is in fact against Doncaster Rovers Belles again, this time, at Moor Farm on the 19th of February in a 14:00 kick-off.
Report by Jordan Richards
Manager Dan Dobrzycki reflected on the win over Doncaster Rovers Belles with a feeling that despite the scoreline the Ewe Rams could have been more clinical as they continued their unbeaten league campaign.
“Some bits were good, I thought the shape got better as the game went on.
“We tried to do the right things and I thought we were alright without the ball but although we did score four I thought we were probably lacking a bit of quality in the final third and the attacking areas.
“I thought the control as a pass came in could have been better and the pace on the pass could have been better so plenty to work on for next week.”
Top-scorer Isabel Sheridan returned to the side following an absence in the 6-0 win over Loughborough Lightning and Dobrzycki was full of praise for the young player but felt she still has some improvements to make in her game.
“She played really well.” The manager explained. “She dropped a bit deeper than usual and I think it suited her. She got on the ball well and she moved it.
“One slight criticism though, I want her to move the ball more. She was a bit reliant on her right foot when she could have played it on her left more.
“She’s always dangerous and got a goal in her so I’m not surprised to see her on the scoresheet. I’m happy with her and it’s nice to see her back in the side.”
Dobrzycki made a number of changes to the set-up of the side following Laura Monk’s goal to put Derby 2-0 up in order to attempt to open up Doncaster even more and the tactics paid off with a further two goals in the second half but he admits clinicality still needs working on in the squad.
“We’re very fluid with shape. All it was that we had too many players standing behind the ball and they didn’t offer a threat that warranted having those players back.
“We moved the fullbacks into wingbacks to get them high. We got the midfielders to drop between the centrebacks to get on the all and I think it served us better. We created more but could have done a little more in the final third.”
Defender Alex Owens stepped up to the plate to talk following a clean sheet for herself with the Under 20s now not conceding a goal in four consecutive league fixtures.
She said: “I played well but it was frustrating at times because the pitch was quite bouncy so it was often hard to control the ball at times.
“I played well going up and down the pitch and I did a lot of the running for the side.”
She elaborated further on the frustration of the game despite a positive scoreline but praised the camaraderie of the squad around her with a number of leaders on the field.
“We’ve got to come together as a team. Our captain Leila [Abadi] is always encouraging alongside the coaches as well.
“We’ll have to analyse the situation and go at it again and just keep trying and pushing and attempt different things to push through.”
Words by Riley Somerville