• Andy Moore

Ewe Rams Win at Fylde in Battle for Runners-Up

Photo by Nigel Broster

Derby County Women came out on top in the battle for 2nd place in the FA Women's National League Northern Division with a 2-0 win at AFC Fylde Women on Sunday.

A first-half stunner from Amy Sims gave the Ewe Rams the advantage and they were thankful to debut goalkeeper Imogen Maguire's penalty save early in the second-half before Sophie Domingo wrapped up the game in injury time to double the lead.

Coming off the back of a narrow derby win against Nottingham Forest last weekend; the Rams were in high spirits before their trip to the North West.

The match began as a tight affair, a bobbly uneven pitch, and high winds made the game extremely difficult to play on the floor, and as such both sides opted for the long ball approach.

Derby had the better of the early chances, Sophie Domingo was dangerous on the right wing, and Ellie Gilliatt proved a nuisance for the Fylde defence, but couldn’t find a way past Ellie Etheridge in the Fylde net.

22 minutes into the first half, it was the hosts who came closest, dangerous forward Faye McCoy hit the post from an effort from the edge of the box, and Amy Sims was there to clear the danger.

Four minutes later, Hannah Forster hit the bar from a similar position, but again the Rams survived as nothing came from her effort. Emilia Wilson and Gilliatt continued to prove a nuisance to the Fylde defence, especially down the right-wing, as the Rams re-found their footing on the half-hour mark. Jade Formaston went close with a freekick, and Ellie Gilliatt saw her close range shot blocked.

Amy Sims opened the scoring with a fantastic effort from the edge of the box after 39 minutes. The ball rolled to the wingback, and the end result was inevitable as soon as she struck it, as the ball nestled into the top left corner, leaving Etheridge with no chance.

The Sims goal was enough to hand the visitors a deserved half-time lead, just edging out their hosts.

Derby began the second half with some urgency, as Wilson, Domingo and Gilliatt all continuing to cause Fylde trouble, but there was nothing to show for it, as the lead remained one.

Imogen Maguire impressed when called into action, first making a smart save from a McCoy header, after a divine ball from Laura Merrin. Minutes later and the hosts were handed a lifeline, the Fylde forward tripped in the box, and McCoy stepped up, only to be denied by a strong stop by Maguire, who then also kept out the rebound from close range.

End-to-end football followed for the final 15 minutes, both sides needing to score, but neither could carve out the perfect opportunity, and the hosts were handed a lifeline when Sherry McCue was sinbinned for dissent with five minutes to play.

Sophie Domingo slid home in added time to put the game beyond all doubt, slotting her effort underneath the goalkeeper one-on-one. Domingo had a similar chance from the restart, but this time she was denied well by Etheridge.

Fylde won another penalty, for another trip on the edge of the box. Maguire, desperate to keep a clean sheet on her debut did enough to put off McCoy, who scuffed her spotkick and sent the ball wide of the post with the last kick of the game.

The Ewe Rams now have two final away games left of the season, and with Wolves a point from the title, are now battling for a second placed finish.

Line-Up: Maguire, Sims, Jackson, Miles, McCue, Ward (c), Formaston, Wilson (Hamilton), Joyce (Rai), Gilliatt, Domingo.

Goals: Sims 39mins, Domingo 90mins

Player of the Match: Sophie Domingo

Match Report by University of Derby Football Journalism Student Josh Fletcher

Stats by University of Derby Football Journalism Students

James McCormick & Josh Fletcher

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