• Andy Moore

Five-Star Ewe Rams in A50 Derby Victory

Derby County Women moved back to the top of the FA Women's National League Northern Division with a stunning 5-0 win over local rivals Stoke City Women.

A hat-trick from Precious Hamilton and a goal each for Jade Formaston and Ellie Gilliatt, secured a welcome three points that saw them again reach the summit, going into the second-half of the season.

Following a disappointing defeat in their top of the table clash to Wolves Women on Sunday afternoon, the Ewe Rams were looking to return to their early season form.

After her impact from the bench at the weekend, Hamilton was rewarded with a return to the starting XI. Over 500 fans turned up to the Don Amott arena to see their side, but it was the visitors that started brightly but failed to capitalise on their early dominance.

The balance of the first half teetered between the sides, with just over 10 minutes played, Stoke City had a goal disallowed for a push on a Derby defender, and the Ewe Rams were let off the hook after being caught out. Gilliatt, Emilia Wilson and Hamilton all had opportunities for the home side who began to fund their feet, only to be denied by an inform Potters goalkeeper

Derby made their pressure pay, as some confusion in the Stoke penalty area allowed Wilson to rob the ball from the defender, the ball falling to Hamilton who poked the ball home to open the scoring after 40 minutes, to give the Rams a valuable and well-earned lead. Hamilton added her second just a minute later, as she rose highest to fire a header unmarked into the net, as the hosts went into half time with a quick-fire two goal lead.

The hosts came out for the second half just as they finished the first, Hamilton and Gilliatt both denied from good opportunities, as the strike pair looked to add a third.

Formaston would be the one to net that crucial goal, as she struck an effort from 30 yards, looping her perfectly placed strike into the top corner, leaving the visitors goalkeeper stranded.

Three wasn’t enough for Griffiths and her side, as the team looked for more goals, Hamilton and Gilliatt continued to dominate and cause the visitors problems, and despite conceding three goals, the Stoke keeper continued to keep the score respectable.

Hamilton finally completed her hat-trick with 15 minutes left to play, another header this time from an inch perfect Megan Tinsley cross, the striker nodding into the bottom corner, for her third and County’s fourth.

Sophie Domingo looked dangerous when she was brought on, striking an effort late on high over the bar, after more great work from Tinsley. The visitors had their own opportunity to get on the scoresheet but former Ewe Rams midfielder Callan Barber saw her long distance effort clawed away by goalkeeper Sarah Morgan.

Gilliatt scored her well-deserved goal in the last minute of the game to cap off a rampant performance, as she fired a shot from the edge of the area past the goalkeeper after more poor defending from the visitors.

County dominated the whole affair, with 52% possession and more than double the number of shots Stoke could muster [21-9]. Two away trips are up next for Derby, as they travel to Burnley and then clash with Fylde for another key match in the promotion battle, with this 5-0 victory the crucial springboard for success.

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

Goals: Hamilton 40mins, 42mins 76mins, Formaston 53mins, Gilliatt 90mins

Player of the Match: Precious Hamilton

Match Report by University of Derby Football Journalism Student Joshua Fletcher

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