Derby County Women fell to a disappointing 3-1 defeat against Nottingham Forest Women on Sunday afternoon at the City Ground, courtesy of goals from Charlotte Greengrass and Niamh Reynolds in the FA Women’s National League.
The Ewes were defensively resilient in the first half but were undone shortly after the restart and soon faced an uphill battle to clamber their way back into the encounter.
Kiera Barry did nod home a consolation goal for Sam Griffiths’ side, but it was too little too late for the Ewes as all three points were sealed by the hosts just moments later.
The first chance of note fell to the hosts after three minutes. Having wriggled her way into the box, Mai Moncaster struck through her laces and forced Imogen Maguire into a fine diving save which she tipped onto the post and out for a corner. Amy West then placed her effort high and wide from the following set-piece.
Derby were next to try their luck as Emily Joyce set her sight on goal in the eighth minute. The midfielder was teed up by Camille Jenkins from long range but sent her shot straight down the middle of the goal and into the grateful grasp of Forest goalkeeper Emily Batty.
A quiet spell followed before the hosts were awarded a corner in the 17th minute, which opposition captain Lyndsey Harker whipped into the area. Attempting to collect the ball, Imogen Maguire mishandled and a goal mouth scramble ensued before the ball was eventually cleared off the line.
Playing on the counter-attack, the Ewes fashioned another chance through stalwart Amy Sims in the 28th minute, but her scooped attempt from distance flew well over the crossbar.
Two minutes later, Forest’s Greengrass made her presence known for the first time during the fixture and fizzed a half-volley just wide of the top right corner from the edge of the area.
There was one last opportunity for the Ewes before half-time as Sims slotted Anita Gaspar through on goal in the 42ndminute. The forward was unable to hold onto the ball this time, however, and the hosts cleared any posing danger.
It took the hosts little time after the restart to forge ahead through top scorer Greengrass. Hayley James found herself in good space on the right flank before flashing a well hit low cross into the area and towards Greengrass who smashed home from close range.
Eight minutes later, Forest doubled their advantage. Hitting the Ewes on the counter, Reynolds picked up the ball on the edge of the area and sent a bobbled effort past the outstretched Maguire and into the bottom right-hand corner.
Derby had an opportunity to halve the deficit in the 63rd minute as Jess Camwell stood over a free-kick within shooting range, though the resulting attempt was sent high and wide on this occasion mere moments before Andrew Cook’s women made it three.
Moncaster sent a fierce shot towards the Derby goal which was superbly kept out by Maguire, but the Ewes failed to clear their lines and Greengrass was there once more to tap into an open goal and bolster the hosts’ advantage in the 67th minute.
Ewes substitute Barry headed wide from a corner ten minutes later, which followed a further two efforts from Greengrass in search of a hat-trick, one which was saved and one which cracked off the woodwork, before Barry’s second headed attempt flew into the back of the net to pull one back for Griffiths’ side just as the fourth official’s board went up to indicate the amount of stoppage time.
It was a frustrating day at the office for the Ewes, and their chance to put it right comes next Sunday afternoon when they pay a visit to current league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers Women.
by Jacob Hackett UOD Sports Journalist