• Andy Moore

Ewe Rams Extend Unbeaten Run to 9 Games with win at Promotion Rivals

Derby County Women extended their unbeaten run to 9 games with a 3-1 victory at fellow promotion rivals Huddersfield Town Women to move a point off the top of the FA Women’s National League Northern Table.

The Ewe Rams earned all three points thanks to goals from Emily Joyce, Jade Formaston and a Sherry McCue penalty to secure a morale boosting victory against a side with their own ambitions for promotion.

Early chances for Derby set the tone for the first-half with Formaston and Precious Hamilton going close on a couple of occasions each before an unmarked Amy Sims header went narrowly wide.

The home side then went close as a smart Charlotte Clarke stop, kept the scores level before the Ewe Rams made the breakthrough.

A free-kick from 30-yards from Joyce eluded everybody, before the up until then, flawless Terriers goalkeeper Becky Flaherty, allowed the ball to squeeze through her and trickle into the net.

Huddersfield attempted to hit back straight away but Clarke was again there to keep the Ewes ahead and it was the away side that could have extended their lead before the break.

Making up for her earlier error, the Huddersfield shot-stopper somehow kept her side in the game with two fine saves, first from Ellie Gilliatt with a strike from distance, before moments later a Precious Hamilton header, destined for the goal, was somehow clawed away.

Expecting a response from the home side after the break, it was Derby that again took control as Flaherty denied the Ewes as Hamilton’s cross was turned towards goal by Gilliatt who was again denied by a point-blank save from the Northern Ireland International.

However, moments later, the Ewes got their second as Formaston’s cross from the right-hand side, eluded everybody to nestle in the corner to extend the visitors lead.

The visitors could have extended their lead further as Gilliatt’s shot went narrowly the wrong side of the post before the home side needing to get back in the game, began to find their feet and were handed a lifeline when Brittany Sanderson fired in a free-kick to end the Ewes clean sheet record.

Half-chances for the home side came and went before a mistake at the back allowed Huddersfield’s Laura Elford an opportunity but Clarke in the Derby goal was equal to the task to keep the Ewes ahead.

The contest was decided with minutes to go as the visitors were handed a disputed penalty after Hamilton was bundled over in the box, with McCue confidently converting to secure the three points and leave Boss Sam Griffiths delighted.

Griffiths said “We were excellent today and switched on from the start, something we identified that was slightly missing last week against West Brom.

“Historically, this hasn’t been a good place for us to come but we’re in a good place and that first-half was probably the best 45 minutes so far this season and we probably should have been more than a goal ahead at the break but were denied by a good goalkeeping performance.

“Equally, we may have lost our clean sheet run but I thought our defending was on point and when needed to, Charlotte pulled off a couple of crucial saves at important times.

“I’ve talked about it a lot but our resilience has been a key facet of our season so far, we’re working so hard as a team and we’re being rewarded at the moment.

“This league isn’t going to get any easier but 9 games unbeaten in all competitions is a wonderful achievement. Today, we had performances from one to eleven, firstly taking charge and then digging in when we needed it.

“I’m so so pleased with today and if we continue with that attitude, effort and desire, we will give ourselves a chance against any side. Now we prepare for a couple of cup games and look to continue our good run.”

Player of the Match: Jade Formaston

Line-Up: Clarke, Sims, Jackson, Ward (c), Tinsley, McCue, Formaston, Joyce, Domingo (Rai), Gilliatt, Hamilton (Fisher). Subs Not Used: Miles, Edwards.

Goals: Joyce 24mins, Formaston 50mins, McCue 87Mins

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