The Under 20s returned to winning ways at Moor Farm to continue their unbeaten league campaign with a 6-0 win over local rivals Loughborough Lightning following the Plate defeat to Newcastle United the previous week.
Derby confirmed a season double over the Lightning with three goals either side of half-time with four different goalscorers meaning the Ewe Rams keep the pressure on league leaders Nottingham Forest.
The opening few minutes were equal for either side but the first chance fell to Iesha Rollins, Laila Abadi dribbled well into the box to lay off to Rollins, but the Maddie near-post effort was well collected by Lois Page in the Loughborough net.
Rollins would redeem herself by opening the scoring on the ninth-minute mark though as Ruby Barnes sped down the left wing after some fantastic passing play by the Ewe Rams before cutting inside to the edge of the area for the number ten to rifle home for 1-0.
In the blink of the eye, the lead was doubled as Amelia Towers found herself one-on-one after a through-ball from deep allowed her to fake-shot past the Loughborough goalkeeper and tap the ball home into an empty net.
Any attempt by Loughborough to penetrate the Derby backline in the first half were thwarted by the partnership of Molly Towers and Sarah Brassington with the Lightning's lone forward Nour Aboul Kheir unable to muscle the duo away to go through on goal after a ball over the top.
The two goalscorers almost combined for what would have been a goal-of-the-season contender as Amelia Towers whipped in a cross to the nearside to find a lurking Rollins, the forward attempted a spinning backheel towards goal but the keeper was wise to it and saved it to her right-side.
A third would come just after the half-hour mark with Barnes winning the ball on the press, evading the goalkeeper's attempt to collect the ball on the left side before curling the ball home past the opposition defenders on the line to put the Rams three goals to the good come half-time.
The opening ten minutes of the second half would be a quieter affair than what we saw in the first, being stop-start due to several collisions between the two sets of players interrupting the run of play before either team could get a rhythm going.
Derby looked certain for another goal in the 60th minute but were denied by the woodwork when Amelia Towers put the ball across goal with the resulting effort looping over the keeper but frustratingly clipping the crossbar before being cleared away to safety by the Loughborough defence.
The Rams brought themselves back up to their usual level, knocking on the door of the Loughborough goal, as the half progressed with Rollins having the best of the chances after a fantastic pass from Barnes allowed Rollins to cut inside onto her left, but substitute goalkeeper Maddie Walsh had it covered.
The fourth was worth the wait until the 70th minute when Laura Monk snuck in past the Lightning backline after a sumptuous pass from Rollins found itself to Monk's feet allowing her to neatly place the ball into the bottom corner to put the game well and truly to bed.
The second-half goals arrived like London buses, Rollins would get her goal-of-the-season contender in the end when she noticed the opposition goalie off her line and decided to have a pop from 25 yards which soared into the back of the net to complete her brace and put the Ewe Rams 5-0 up.
Substitute Natasha Goodwin would cap off a fantastic team performance from Derby when a corner evaded everyone in the box only for Goodwin to tap home into the roof of the net to put the scoreline to a deserved 6-0.
Loughborough looked strong for a consolation goal in the final five minutes of the fixture, attempting to challenge Lola Smith between the sticks with shots from the edge of the area but overall, Derby looked worthy of the clean sheet as the final whistle blew.
Derby County Women Development's next game is away to Doncaster Rovers Belles on the 12th of February as the team look to make it nine games unbeaten in the FAWNL Reserves Midland Division.
Report by Riley Somerville
Manager Dan Dobrzycki was pleased with how his team responded to the defeat to Newcastle in the Reserve Plate in the previous game but despite the comfortable scoreline over Loughborough, he admits there is still work to be done.
“We improved in some respects from last week, I think that was important,” he said. “We showed good intensity and we worked well with each other.
“We are certainly not the finished article and that needs to still improve a lot. We need to improve how we commit as a team but there were some positives today. I thought in moments we looked good today and there was a lot of good work rate out there from the girls.”
“I think that is one thing I can credit all these girls with. We have had a loss and we have responded well. The training was excellent on Monday, and Thursday followed up for that as well and we did well to put it into practice today.
“There were some good individual qualities today, but I am more impressed with the patterns we saw and the chances we created.”
Winning 3-0 and comfortable at the break, it took a bit of time for the Ewe Rams to go and get a fourth goal and then on, went and scored a fifth and sixth goal in quick succession to stamp their authority on the game.
On the back of the game, manager Dobrzyski explained how he always wants his teams to attack but to do that, they need to win the ball back better and explained how he changed style at half-time when his players were starting to get tired.
He said: “We just need to tighten up our possession on the press and try to get the ball back a little bit better.
“When we did have it in the first half, I thought we did the right things, but in the second half, we decided we did not have the legs to play the way we wanted.
“We let our forwards strap onto their fullbacks with let the centre-backs play out for Loughborough and in the second half, we played a bit for a trap in the midfield which worked well.
“We scored on the back of that, and it was nice to get the fifth and sixth goals as well.”
Despite the scoreline in which everyone had a part to play, it was Iesha Rollins who grabbed most of the headlines at Moor Farm with her involvement in three of the six goals, including a 25-yard lob over the opposition goalkeeper.
After the game, Dobrzycki was full of praise for Rollins and her efforts in the victory but has also claimed she was unlucky to not have sealed her hat-trick in the end.
“There were some good individual moments from Iesha, and I am pleased for her,” Dobrzycki added. “Her work rate has been there this season and she has shown a commitment to what she is doing so I am happy for her.
“She took her goals well which we have been working on from outside the box for her second, but she was probably unlucky not to get her third in the end.”
Alongside the attacking quality which evidently won the Ewe Rams the game in comfortable fashion, Dobrzycki was also quick to praise the backline, especially Sasha Brassington, for her defending which led to a clean sheet.
He said: “I would also like to mention the other side of the game. When you score six, everyone thinks the attackers have won the game, but I thought the defence did well and I thought Sasha (Brassington) was brilliant, responding from last week’s performance.
“There was never anything going to get past her today, so I think that sets the tone for the team.”
With three more points in the bag which stretched the Ewe Rams’ unbeaten run to nine in the league, attention now turns to Doncaster Rovers Belles Development away from home in their next game.
“We have not played Doncaster yet, so we do not know what we are going into,” said Dobryzski.
“We can only control our own variables, so we are going to look to improve our intensity, get some players coming back from injury and hopefully repeat a win.
“We know Doncaster will be well-coached and well-organised so we will just go and impose ourselves on the game as much as we can.”
Iesha Rollins also reflected on the victory over Loughborough Lightning and how she and her team needed a response after the defeat to Newcastle United last time out in the FAWNL Reserve Plate.
“We played well as a team with plenty of big improvements from last week,” she said. “We prepared well, and we managed the game which we controlled throughout.
“The main point of focus was to respond after last week’s defeat and we did that, so I am happy.”
Rollins’ performance saw her grab two goals, including a 25-yard lob from outside the box, as well as setting up Laura Monk for 4-0.
Although Rollins is delighted to be back on the scoresheet, as much as she wanted a third to seal her hat-trick, she understands that the team’s performance and the result is more important than her own.
Rollins added: “It is a good feeling to be back on the scoresheet. I would have been a little happier to get my hattrick, but it is all about the team at the end of the day.
“We got the job done so it has been a good day all around.”
Words by Jordan Richards