Derby County Ladies Football Club

Derby County v Stoke City LFC

Derby County Ladies produced a stunning comeback from 3-0 down at half-time to stun Stoke City Ladies and take all three points in a 4-3 win in the FA Premier League Northern Division.

After an explosive start to the game, Derby Ladies style of play began to slow down which allowed Stoke Ladies to take an early lead with a 35 yard screamer by Hollie Gibson which found the top right corner of the goal.

The Ewe Rams struggled to find composure while Stoke continued to put pressure on the home side.

It took the visitors just five minutes after their first goal to score a second after a weak headed ball by defender Sam Griffiths to goal keeper Charlotte Clarke was intercepted by Stoke striker Ashleigh Hayes who passed the ball into the back of the net.

Derby began to find momentum before being knocked back down again by another Stoke goal, this time from Kate Asher who added to her team’s tally.

It was clear before half time that manager John Bennett would need to make changes to his Derby team in order to have any chance of redemption and to possibly get a point out of the game.

Bennett said after the game that: “We were poor at tracking back in the first half which cost us obviously being 3-0 down.”

With only two players on the bench, Bennett took the chance that his Ewe Rams team would not suffer any injuries and brought on both Megan Clarkson and Nikki Ledgester.

With the two new subs Bennett changed his team’s formation from a 4-4-2 to a more attacking 3-5-2.

“We felt that with 3-5-2 it just meant that we could play through the thirds a lot more and use our skilful players to better effect,” said Bennett when explaining why he chose to change Derby’s formation.

This proved straight away a more effective formation for Derby after a through ball to skipper Melissa Johnson allowed her to fire the ball home making the score 1-3 just one minute into the second half.

Lisa Giampalma stepped up to take a free kick for Derby which managed to skip through Stokes defensive line and into the bottom right hand corner making it 2-3 with just over half an hour left of the second half.

Johnson once again stepped up to score Derby’s equalising goal after another long through to her allowed her to score her second of the match.

Tension rose as time ran out and a bit of push and shove between Derby’s number nine Nicole Dale and Stoke number ten Hannah Keryakoplis, saw both of them end up in the referee’s book.

With just nine minutes left a long ball by Griffiths found Dale which allowed Johnson to shoot and almost score a hat trick but it was substitute Ledgester who fired the ball into the back of the net and secured Derby a 4-3 win.

Player of the match Nicole Dale gave her opinion on the match: “It was all about giving 100% in the second half because first half I don’t think any of us could say that we gave that.”

Derby Ladies now move up to sixth place in the Premier League North Division and continue to chase the hopes of possibly finishing third in the league.

Written by Derby University Football Journalism Student Holly Percival