Derby Day Delight for Ewe Rams
Derby County Women secured a league double over Nottingham Forest Women at Pride Park on Sunday afternoon in the FA Women's National League Northern Division, winning 1-0 courtesy of a Sherry McCue penalty.
The Ewes were comfortable throughout, despite being down to ten players for the majority of the second half, and thoroughly deserved their three points following a spirited performance.
The first chance of the half fell to Precious Hamilton who was unable to turn her header goal bound in the fifth minute. Amy Sims’ delivery was on a plate for the forward to head home, but Hamilton’s effort was thumped down into the ground and wide for a goal kick.
Sam Griffiths’ side went close again just five minutes later when Jade Formaston found Sims bursting into space on the right hand side of the penalty area. The captain received the ball before slipping Ellie Gilliatt through on goal, but the winger blazed her shot over the crossbar from just inside the area.
An opportunity arose for the visitors to take the lead against the run of play in the 11th minute when Charlotte Greengrass fed Gianna Mitchell through on goal. The striker aimed hard and low towards the bottom left-hand corner, but goalkeeper Amy Burle tipped the ball past the post and out for a corner, keeping the score level.
Derby took the lead in the 16th minute through McCue after Emily Joyce was tripped in the penalty area, referee Guy Thrower pointed to the spot and graced McCue with the opportunity to break the deadlock.
The 27-year-old kept her composure, calmly slotting the ball into the bottom right-hand corner as opposition goalkeeper Emily Batty dived the other way with he Ewe’s celebrating in front of an elated home crowd.
Forest could have been level ten minutes later, but Charlotte Steggles failed to hit the target with her free kick, instead clipping the wall and earning a corner which led to nothing.
A potential turning point came early in the second-half resulting in Megan Tinsley being sent off and Andy Cook’s side being awarded a penalty.
Naomi Powell’s shot looked destined for the top right-hand corner before Tinsley handled the ball on the line to deny the away side an equaliser. The defender received a straight red for her illegal save before Mitchell hammered her subsequent penalty effort high and wide to the relief of those in black and white.
Despite being a woman down, Derby continued to control the match in superb fashion not allowing the visitors any clear cut chances and had a couple of promising opportunities of their own to double their advantage in the closing stages with substitute Sophie Domingo heavily involved in both.
The first of the young winger’s involvements came in the 86th minute after she cleverly beat the offside trap. An impressive sequence of twists and turns that dazed her defender led the winger to the edge of the box before a tame shot was easily held by Batty to deny Domingo a fantastic solo goal.
Three minutes later, Domingo surged forward once more as the focal point of a late counterattack. She managed to slip the ball through to Emilia Wilson, but another attempt was gratefully collected by Batty to ensure the deficit did not increase.
Shortly after, the full-time whistle was blown, and three points were deservedly sealed for the Ewes in front of a joyous Pride Park crowd.
Next up for Griffiths’ side is a tough trip to face AFC Fylde in the penultimate away fixture of the season.
Line-Up: Burle, Sims (c), Jackson, Miles, Tinsley, McCue, Formaston (May), Wilson, Joyce, Gilliatt, Hamilton (Domingo). Subs Not Used: Ward, Rai, Camwell
Goals: McCue (Pen 16mins)
Player of the Match: Nikki Miles
Match Report by University of Derby Football Journalism Student Jacob Hackett