East Midlands Bragging Rights for Ewe Rams with 5th Win on the Bounce
Derby County Women took the bragging rights for the first time since 2018 in the East Midlands Derby as goals from Emily Joyce and Ellie Gilliatt, along with a vital penalty save from Charlotte Clarke earned the Ewe Rams a 2-0 win at the City ground.
It was a record-breaking afternoon in Nottingham, as Forest and Derby put on a spectacle for 4,443 fans for the first East Midlands Derby of the season.
Derby started the brightest and controlled the opening exchanges, with Gilliatt causing the Forest defence problems on the left wing.
Precious Hamilton was another thorn in the Forest side, and looked up for it against her former teammates, nodding a header over from a corner and smashing a free-kick into the wall inside the first 20 minutes.
The hosts came into the fixture halfway through the first half, an effort from West hit the bar after 23 minutes, and the game looked to be on a turning point when the Rams conceded a penalty on the half-hour mark, after a foul on Freya Thomas.
Charlotte Clarke looked confident, psyching out the taker and the goalkeeper won the battle of the minds, as a well hit Rosie Axten penalty was pushed away for a corner by Clarke. Laura-Jayne O'Neill’s header from the subsequent corner was headed wide.
There was a lull following the penalty miss, with both teams not really managing a clear-cut opportunity, until five minutes before half time.
A teasing Derby cross wasn’t dealt with by the Forest defence, and with confusion between the goalkeeper and her centre-backs, Emily Joyce found herself with an open net, and as if she had all the time in the world, took a touch and fired into an open net.
Derby looked galvanised by their goal, and immediately looked to attack again, which they did and just two minutes after their first, Amy Sims took a run at the Forest defence, and was brought down 25 yards from goal.
Gilliatt stepped up to the free-kick and rifled the ball home into the bottom right-hand corner with power and precision, leaving the goalie with no chance, and Derby with a two-goal lead away from home, against their most bitter rivals.
The Rams seemed content with their first half performance, and the second half was about consolidating their comfortable lead. Forest showed some spirit, but there were no clear-cut chances as the Ewe Rams defence looked resolute throughout.
Late substitute Sophie Domingo looked bright and offered some fresh legs to attack and had a golden chance to add a third after a mazy run saw her through on goal. Only a suberb last ditch tackle from O'Neill prevented Derby adding a third.
It was a comfortable display from the Ewe Rams, who moved above their local rivals into third in the table, and with a game in hand over most teams around them, the season is shaping up well as they go into the winter period.
Player of the Match: Megan Tinsley
Line-Up: Clarke, Sims, Jackson, Miles, Tinsley, Ward (c), McCue, Formaston (Domingo 74), Joyce, Gilliatt, Hamilton (Rai 58). Subs Not Used: Morgan, Fisher, May
Match Report written by
University of Derby Football Journalism Student Josh Fletcher.