Derby County Women extended their winning run to six games thanks to a late goal by substitute Camille Jenkins to secure a 2-1 win against Huddersfield Town Women.
The Ewes came out on top in the first of two back-to-back clashes with Huddersfield, with the sides set to face off on Sunday, March 12, in the reverse fixture.
Derby took an early lead through Amy Sims, but were pegged back by Autmn Housley’s half-volley just before the hour mark. However, substitute Jenkins’ looping header restored the Ewes lead and secured all three points.
Despite a slow start to the game, Derby managed to take the lead in the 11th minute through the Ewes’ top-scorer, Amy Sims.
Hannah Ward played a longball up-field to Sims who confidently dinked the ball over Lauren Joyce and into the Huddersfield net.
Becky McGrother had an opportunity to double the lead minutes later, but her effort was smothered by the out-rushing Joyce.
The Ewes were denied once more, this time by the woodwork as Jess Camwell’s effort smashed against the upright before being collected by a grateful Joyce.
Huddersfield’s only real chance of the half came in the 23rd minute as a fine free-kick from a dangerous position had Imogen Maguire at full stretch to keep it out.
A lack of clearcut chances for either side was the story of the remaining 20 minutes of the half, until Anita Gaspar picked out Sims in the remaining seconds of the game. Although, her left-footed effort was tame, making a comfortable save for Joyce.
Moments after the restart, substitute Kira Rai charged down on goal after latching onto an aerial pass, after knocking the ball around Joyce she went down inside the area giving Huddersfield the opportunity to clear.
Camwell burst forward down the right-hand side before cutting the ball back to Emelia Wilson on the edge of the area, but she was leaning back when taking the effort on which resulted in the attempt flying over the crossbar.
Huddersfield did find an equaliser through Housley just before the hour-mark as Derby failed to deal with a corner, which was emphatically half-volleyed into Maguire’s net.
Maguire was called into action to make an impressive double save following a mistake by Sarah Jackson to lose the ball in her own defensive third.
Derby were seeking the goal to put them back ahead which almost came from Sims’ mazing run through the middle, but the finish lacked conviction.
The Ewes came close once more, as Megan Clarkson’s header from Camwell’s in-swinging corner was tipped over by Joyce.
Sims tried her luck from range in the 75th minute which narrowly sailed over the crossbar, much to the delight of Joyce in the Huddersfield net.
It was Rai this time who tried her luck from range with a curling effort from the 25-yard mark which was inches away from nestling in the back of the net.
Derby left it late to get the winner, with the goal coming in the 91st minute as Jenkins managed to get her head onto a corner and loop the ball past Joyce and into the back of the net.
The Ewe Rams take on rivals Nottingham Forest Women at Pride Park on Sunday, March 26, with tickets available now at dcfc.co.uk.
Derby County Women: Maguire (GK), Ward (C), Jackson, Clarkson, Sutherland, Joyce, Sims, Wilson (Sheridan 84), Camwell (Rhodes-Andrews 72), McGrother (Rai 45), Gaspar (Jenkins 69)
Substitutes not used: Morgan (GK)
Huddersfield Town Women: Joyce (GK), Stanfield (C), Ibbotson, Sumaili (Montgomery 69), Sanderson (Suttie 64), Housley, Mason, Heslam, Hulme, Linsell, Langford
Substitutes not used: Mallin (GK), Dill, Megeary