Fylde Women 1-2 Derby County Women
Anita Gaspar scored a goal in each half as the Ewe Rams progressed to the next round of the Women’s National League Cup.
Gaspar’s goals, scored in the 16th and 48th minute, were the striker’s first in open play for the club and enough for Derby to claim victory.
Caz Fields netted a quick reply for Fylde after Derby had doubled their lead early in the second half but despite pushing forward the hosts could not find an equaliser.
Knocking the Coasters out of the cup was made sweeter for the Ewe Rams given they had lost at home to the same opposition in the league a week earlier.
Derby started brightly with Keira Barry showing off her pace down the right wing but her cross floated narrowly over the head of Amy Sims at the back post.
Centre back Jenna Carroll was in goal for the hosts for a second week in a row, due to injuries to the regular keepers, but unlike her superb display last weekend - when she managed a clean sheet in a 2-0 win - she could not do anything to deny Gaspar on either occasion.
The opening goal came when Alex Taylor gave possession away cheaply for the hosts with a loose pass, which Jess Camwell picked up. Camwell dinked a ball over the top for Gaspar to chase. The striker through on goal showed great composure to get away from a Hannah Forster challenge and slot the ball beyond the goalkeeper.
Derby had tried the same ball over the top for Gaspar to chase a minute before the goal and on that occasion the linesman raised his flag but Fylde did not heed the warning.
The Ewe Rams controlled the first half and probed for a second goal.
Carroll missed her punch from a corner and Ella Hilliard picked up the loose ball, spun and shot at goal but a defender blocked well.
Gaspar could not beat Carroll when she bore down on goal on the counter-attack after the hosts had a penalty appeal waved away.
Barry then could not keep her shot down when Hilliard’s stunning long-range pass got her in behind the Fylde defence.
On the cusp of half-time the hosts went close to an equaliser. Emily Hollinshead put the ball in the back of the net but the goal was ruled out for offside before Amy Hughes fired over their best chance from close range.
The Ewe Rams made the perfect start to the second half when a lucky ricochet fell to Gaspar who could not miss from five yards out.
Fylde instantly responded with a goal of their own when Fields’ shot was deflected, wrong footing Sarah Morgan and rolling into the corner of the net.
It made for a tense last half hour for the visitors as the hosts pressed forward for an equaliser. Hughes dragged an effort wide and Morgan had to save with her legs to deny Faye McCoy.
A spirited performance and resolute defensive display earned the Ewe Rams their place in the next round.
BY CIARAN MORRISON UOD JOURNALISM STUDENT