Derby County Women held out for a 1-1 draw against Brighouse Town Women at the Don Amott Arena on Sunday, despite finishing the game with ten players.
The Ewe Rams were looking to respond having lost consecutive games in the FA Women’s National League North against Burnley and Nottingham Forest.
Marli Rhodes-Andrews gave the Ewe Rams the lead midway through the first-half, only for Brighouse to capitalise on Ella Hilliard’s mistake to equalise through Lucy Sowerby just after the hour mark.
Derby had to hold-out towards the end of the game having gone down to ten-players with Kira Rai being sin-binned for offensive language.
A cagey opening ten minutes saw both sides trying to ease into the game, but neither side was able to assert themselves early on.
It took until the 12th minute for the first effort at goal to come when Rhodes-Andrews troubled Becky Flaherty in the Brighouse goal, with a low free-kick.
Derby took the lead with 19 minutes on the clock through Rhodes-Andrews. The forward found herself back in the starting line-up having dropped to the bench in last Sunday’s defeat to Nottingham Forest Women.
Anita Gaspar, Amy Sims, and Jess Camwell all linked up well on the wing before feeding Rhodes-Andrews inside the area to smash home the opener.
Excellent footwork by Monique Watson troubled the Derby defence as she weaved in and out of four defenders, before picking out a teammate, only for the opportunity to be smothered out.
The Ewe Rams had a half-hearted penalty appeal waved away in the 34th minute when Gaspar claimed she had been caught inside the area.
Four minutes later, Emily Joyce tried her luck from range with a strike around 25-yards from goal. Although she hit the ball with power, it was central for the keeper enabling her to palm it over the bar comfortably.
A bright start to the second-half for Brighouse saw them create an opportunity in the opening 30 seconds of the restart. Darcie Greene got onto the end of a whipped cross, but her first-time effort was high and wide.
Rhodes-Andrews was growing in confidence following her first-half goal, as the Ewe Rams number 16 unleashed an effort from range straight into the keeper’s hands.
A lack of concentration gifted Brighouse an equaliser in the 66th minute as the Ewe Rams attempted to play the ball out from the back.
The opposition’s high-press caught the Derby defence out as substitute Ella Hilliard’s pass was intercepted by Sowerby to tap the ball into the Ewe Rams goal.
Moments later, Hilliard came unstuck once more as she gave away a free-kick in a wide area, which resulted in Dolcie O’Connor rattling the top of the crossbar from the resulting set-piece.
Derby almost found a winner in the 84th minute from Rhodes-Andrews' whipped corner, causing a scramble in the area, which was eventually scurried away by Brighouse.
The Ewe Rams went down to ten-players just before full-time, as substitute Rai was sin-binned for offensive language towards the referee.
Chances came for both sides late on with Jess Camwell having an opportunity to snatch a winner right at the death, however, her effort was comfortably into the grasp of Flaherty.
The Ewe Rams will return to action on April 16, as they face third-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers Women away from home.
Derby County Women: Maguire (GK), Jackson, Ward (C), Joyce, Sutherland (Sheridan 45), Sims, McGrother (Wilson 66), Clarkson (Hilliard 54), Gaspar (Rai 60), Rhodes-Andrews, Camwell
Substitutes Not Used: Morgan (GK)
Brighouse Town Women: Flaherty (GK), Bamforth, Greene, Legge (C), Cass, Greene, Kemp, Woodhouse (O’Connor 59), Prior, Sowerby, Watson
Substitutes Not Used: Clayton, Wilcock, Marley-Paraskens
Written by Mitchell Barwell