Ewe Rams Move Top after Sheffield FC Women win
Derby County Women moved to the top of the FA Women's National League Northern Division after a 4-0 win over Sheffield FC Women.
First-half goals from Jade Formaston, Emily Joyce and Ellie Gilliatt gave the Ewe Rams a comfortable cushion with Precious Hamilton adding a fourth in the second-half to secure the three points.
The Ewes started brightly, keen to put last week's shock FA Cup upset behind them and won a succession of early corners, which proved fruitful, as Jade Formaston poked home a Megan Tinsley corner to give the hosts the start they wanted.
Kira Rai looked sharp in the opening exchanges, and carved out a chance for the second, but Formaston’s shot was wayward, as she and Derby were denied a second.
Ellie Gilliat also had two quick fire chances, as the hosts, who looked sharp throughout, threatened every time they went forward, knowing a win could take them top of the league, if other results went their way.
Chances continued to fall to the hosts, but Sheffield FC's 16-year-old keeper Abi Megeary was proving more than equal as the Ewe Rams continued to create chances that just wouldn’t find a way past the impressive young keeper.
That pressure eventually paid off as Emily Joyce doubled the lead on the 36th minute mark, as Sophie Domingo exploited her pace down the right wing, pulling the ball back to the unmarked midfielder, who fired beyond Megeary in the visitors goal.
Gilliatt added the third, just a minute later, as Domingo again played provider, playing a cute through ball into the striker, who fired into the top corner, taking her total up to 15 for the season, with the Ewe Rams in total control.
Rai had the chance to add a fourth, but her effort was saved impressively again by Megeary with the hosts having a comfortable lead at the break.
Further chances came for the home side but they continued to be thwarted by a spirited defensive performance from the hosts, with Griffiths using the opportunity to make changes, including a debut to Holly Otter, the latest member of the University of Derby scholarship partnership.
Precious Hamilton, another second half change, had a great chance to make it four, but she powered her effort over the bar after 67 minutes, but made no mistake just seconds later, turning her defender and firing a fine goal past the keeper, to finally add a deserved fourth goal.
Derby had a number of opportunities to add more to the scoresheet, and they probably should have, but for a spirited second-half display from a young Sheffield FC Women side.
That 4-0 win moved the Ewes to the top of the FA Women's National League Northern Division after Fylde's loss to Huddersfield Town and with Wolves not playing, giving them a two point lead over their Midlands rivals.
Line-Up: Morgan, Sims (c), Jackson, Miles, Tinsley (May), Joyce (Otter), Formaston (Fisher), McCue, Domingo, Rai (Hamilton), Gilliatt. Subs Not Used: Clarke
Goals: Formaston 2mins, Joyce 36mins, Gilliatt 37mins, Hamilton 68mins.
C&M Builders Player of the Match: Sherry McCue
Match Report by University of Derby Football Journalism Student Joshua Fletcher