The Under 20s continued their title charge with a statement 11-0 win over local rivals Long Eaton United at Grange Park with four different goalscorers sending Dan Dobrzycki’s side home with all three points.
It was the perfect reaction to a disappointing performance against Lincoln City the previous week despite victory at Moor Farm with four changes being made from the previous fixture.
Rebecca McGrother caused havoc early doors against the Blues with her darting runs on the left wing creating the majority of the pressure for Derby, this culminated in a fantastic worked effort when the wing-back dribbled past her marker to cut inside for captain Laura Monk on the penalty spot to slot the ball home for 1-0 after six minutes.
The lead was doubled shortly after when Marli Rhodes-Andrews ran to the byline and put a lovely near-post cross in from the right that found the foot of number ten Iesha Rollins to tap-in for 2-0 and put the Ewe's in the driving seat with only 11 minutes of play gone.
Monk almost pulled off the spectacular from the edge of the area when Rhodes-Andrews laid the ball off to her on the D to attempt a curling effort into the top corner but a fantastic save from the Long Eaton goalkeeper prevented the net from rippling a third time.
Long Eaton forced a save out of Lola Smith following a set-play when the ball was looped in from the centre circle and the striker put on enough pressure to prevent Smith from collecting the ball but her resulting effort rocketed against the goalkeeper to maintain the clean sheet going into the second half.
McGrother showed off her quality throughout the first half with her chance creation and work effort and in the 42nd minute, she got the goal she deserved to go alongside her assist when a fine ball from the wings allowed McGrother to beat the offside trap and neatly place the ball into the top right corner to make it 3-0 to the Ewes.
Rollins would cap off the first half with a brace just moments after the restart of play when she found herself one on one with the keeper to make it 4-0 with a fine finish into the back of the net for her 13th goal of the league campaign in 12th appearances.
Derby didn't let their foot off the pedal in the opening stages of the second half with Sheridan and Rhodes-Andrews combining on the right-hand side on a number of occasions to whip crosses into the box with one finding Ruby Barnes in the perfect position around the six-yard box but her effort could only sail above the crossbar.
Monk found herself a brace when the ball dropped nicely to her in the area after a one-two between Isabel Sheridan and Rollins following a throw-in which allowed the captain to rifle the ball past the Blues' keeper and make it 5-0 to the visitors.
Sarah Newton pulled off the tackle of the season on the 65th-minute mark when a Long Eaton forward pulled away from her marker in the penalty area only to find Newton who slid in to prevent a clear shot on goal to a round of applause from the travelling Derby faithful.
The ball somehow didn't go in for a sixth for the Ewe Rams when Holly Otter and McGrother combined well on the left wing only for McGrother's shot across the face of goal to ricochet out for the wing-back to have a second bite of the cherry but the second attempt could only be deflected behind for a goal-kick.
A sixth would come its way in the form of an own-goal when a backpass from the Blues' backline had too much power on it and evaded the goalkeeper to trickle into the back of the net for 6-0.
Sheridan would showcase her technical prowess by tip-toeing her way around her opposition in the penalty box in the 74th minute with her resulting shot on goal deflecting off a player in Blue only for it to drop to Iesha Rollins for her hattrick and the seventh goal of the afternoon for the Ewe Rams.
The eighth of the afternoon would see the substitutes combine when Nicole Lane whipped in a cross to Isabella Mauro who unselfishly cut the ball across the goal to Rhodes-Andrews who got the goal her performance deserved.
A ninth would give McGrother her brace as she glided through the Long Eaton defence from midfield like they weren't even there, running straight through on goal to put the ball away past the keeper to keep the barrage of goals coming.
The Ewe's would cap off the fantastic 90 minutes with a tenth and an 11th when Sheridan picked up a through-ball from Mauro in the 18-yard box, her effort got a hand from the Long Eaton shot-stopper but it still found its way into the back of the net before Rhodes-Andrew would add to her tally by chipping the keeper from close range straight from the resulting kick-off.
Words by Riley Somerville
Under 20s manager Dan Dobrzycki was delighted with his side’s intensity as well as the manner of the performance following Derby’s 11-0 victory away at Long Eaton United at Grange Park in the FAWNL Reserve Midland League.
First-half strikes from Laura Monk and Rebecca McGrother, along with an Iesha Rollins brace had the Ewe Rams in firm control of the game heading into the interval.
In the second half, further goals from Monk, Rollins, McGrother, Isobel Sheridan, a brace from Marli Rhodes-Andrews as well as an own-goal gave the away side a comfortable and professional victory at Grange Park.
At the end of the game, Dobryzcki was pleased with how his side approached the game and believed his side played better than in the previous fixture against Lincoln, despite going on to win that game 5-3 at Moor Farm.
“Really pleased,” Dobryzcki told the website. “We were not very good last week, but a lot of the things we did not do right last week, I thought we did a lot better today.
“Our shape was better and there was a good intensity to our play. We were not particularly ruthless in the first half, but we made up for that a little bit in the last half of the second half.
“Today was a team effort and I think nobody is going to be disappointed with the way they played, even the players who are probably going to think they did not get on the scoresheet, or they did not get as involved as much as they wanted to.
“A lot of them did their job so I have got no complaints with any player, and it is very hard to pick standouts when there are about three or four performances in there where they have really dominated their one on one and done well for the team.”
The Ewe Rams flew out of the traps when the game got underway at Grange Park and very quickly found themselves two goals to the good inside the first 11 minutes.
Despite their early advantage, it would take Dobrzycki’s side until the final five minutes of the half to eventually grab their third and fourth goal of the game, taking a comfortable advantage with them into the break.
Come the second half, it would take Derby a bit of time to eventually add to their advantage and once they did, that was when the heavens would open for the Ewe Rams as they went on to find the net a further six times to win by 11 goals.
Dobryzcki however was full of praise for the home team despite the manner they lost the game but emphasised the game was won with moments of quality from his players as well as the fitness levels his team possesses.
He added: “You must give credit to Long Eaton. They made it difficult, and you saw anytime we did not press them, they could play out and their shape was decent.
“They worked incredibly hard, and I think once we did get a couple of goals in quick succession, that is probably when the extra fitness showed, and we were dominant in the end.
“The two early goals were good goals and the third and the fourth were more individual quality. The pass from Holly (Otter) for the third was unbelievable as well as the finish from McGrother.
“I think at halftime, it was more a case of keeping our shape and doing the things we know work for us, and I think we did that really well.”
With another three points in the bag and with the club’s unbeaten run still intact, next up for the young Ewe Rams is a league match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Moor Farm on the 19th of March.
Despite the Ewe Rams not coming up against Wolves as of yet, Dobryzcki has full confidence in the fact that his team can beat anyone on their day but is aware that his side must be at the top of their game if they are to get a positive result out of the game.
“We have not played Wolves yet,” exclaimed Dobryzcki. “I do not know what they are going to be like, but we can assume they are going to be one of the best teams in the league.
“They are a very good, well-run club so we are going to need to bring the same discipline and tactical nous that we did against Nottingham Forest which will be a much similar game to that.
“We can be confident knowing we can beat anyone at this level if we get it right, but we are also very aware that if we have some lapses in defensive shape or if we do not defend perfectly for the 90 minutes, then Wolves are very capable of beating us if we do not get it right.”
Words by Jordan Richards