Derby County Ladies Football Club

Ewe Rams Bow Out of WNL Cup

Match Report by Derby University Football Journalism Student Joe Lightfoot

The FA Women’s National League Cup competition came to an abrupt end for Derby County Ladies as they were condemned to a 2-1 loss to Bolton Wanderers Ladies despite a spirited second-half performance.

The Northern Division One side sit mid table in the division below the Ewe Rams but an impressive brace from Saffron Newhouse was enough to send the visitors into the next round. Cara Newton’s second half goal served as a wonderful personal achievement but proved to be yet a consolation in the game.

The visiting side started forcefully and within the first five minutes of the game, Newhouse reminded Derby of the competition they would endure. After missing a very early chance soon after kick-off, she broke clear through the left wing and fired through Leah Kellogg to put the visitors in front minutes later.

Olivia Mitcham went close as Derby began to grow into the fixture after 10 minutes. Her pace allowed her to get in behind the Bolton defence, but she collided into the oncoming Deanne Tomkins who was quick off her line to isolate the danger.

As Derby went in search of and equaliser, they were caught high in their own half. Rosin Havelin was able to beat the high line and force a wonderful save from Kellogg. As the ball looked destined for the bottom corner, Kellogg’s reflexes were superb and got down low to keep the one goal deficit intact.

After Kellogg’s heroics, she was then caught out by Newhouse who robbed her off possession and tackled the ball into an empty net to double Bolton’s lead after a quarter of an hour.

Derby watched in dismay as the pouring rain began to reflect the mood of many spectator’s brave enough to leave their homes.

Despite this, Sam Griffiths’ side were not letting up; Mitcham and Derby responded immediately with their best chance of the game. After some nice football, Mitcham shot with a yard of space in the area which was well stopped by Tomkins.

Kellogg didn’t let her previous error affect her performance- a long and looping free kick from Haley Langford needed a fingertip save as well as the crossbar to keep the score at 2-0. Bolton, despite Derby’s dominance after the opening 20 minutes, remained a threat going into the break.

In the second half the game plan of Bolton was clear for all to see: Sit back and endure the immense pressure Derby applied. And they did.

Jodi Redgrave, who made her 10th appearance for the Ewe Rams, battled for the entirety of the match in the heart of the midfield and It was her header that had Tomkins beat but not the top side of the crossbar.

Finally, and on her 120th appearance for the club, Newton broke the deep Bolton back line and the all time Ewe Ram’s scoring record to reduce the deficit to just one goal. The introduction of substitute, Andi Bell helped Newton grow into the game. The pair inevitably linked up together well to give Derby a glimmer of hope.

The goal had shaken Bolton. They became nervy and careless in possession. Derby sensed this and went in search of an equaliser. Redgrave, Mitcham and Bell all had half chances in the latter stages of the game, but Bolton remained resilient to seal victory and advance to the next round.

After the cup exit, boss Sam Griffiths and her team can put undivided attention on the League as they will look to prepare for their next home match against Guiseley Vixens next Sunday.