Derby County Ladies Football Club

Ewe Rams Climb to Third In FAWNL

Match Report by Derby University Football Journalism Student Jake Dance

Derby County Ladies put in an industrious performance as they held out as 1-0 winners against high-flying Burnley Women in the FA Women’s National League North.

Hannah Keryakoplis was the only goal scorer in a hard-fought affair as her 16th minute effort secured all three points for the Ewe Rams. Ellie Gilliatt was a constant threat throughout the match, but was equally matched by the safe hands of Clarets goalkeeper Lauren Bracewell.

It didn’t take long for Derby to test the keeper. Just two minutes in and Gilliatt had burst through the Burnley defence, leathering a fierce shot across Bracewell. The keeper going full stretch to deny the dangerous attacker, tipping the ball just over for a corner.

Moments later and Bracewell was put to the test again. Hannah Ward sent in a dipping cross from the right hand side which Keryakoplis was all too happy to meet with her head. The Ewe Rams top scorer made good contact but fired directly into the grateful goalies’ arms.

Keryakoplis didn’t make any mistakes with her next chance. Sarah Jackson played a perfect ball over the top that spanned the length of the pitch, which the attacker instinctively latched onto. Bracewell rushed out to meet the chance but Keryakoplis had spotted this, deftly lifting the ball over the keeper and into the net.

Gilliatt tested the Burnley number one again on 20 minutes. The winger blasted the ball from a free-kick, dipping it just over the jumping wall – but it lacked pace and Bracewell clung to the ball with ease.

The away side fought back at the half hour mark as Sarah Greenhalgh blitzed down the left hand side, then cutting in to face Sarah Morgan. The attacker fired from a narrow angle but the Derby shot-stopper reacted quickly and smothered the shot.

Jodie Michalska almost got a debut goal after good play from Gilliatt saw the ball rushed through and grazed across the six-yard box. It bounced awkwardly just before it reached the foot of the new number 19 however, and the shot looped over the bar.

Derby continued to dominate into the second half, pushing bodies high up the pitch in search of a second goal. Gilliatt came close again as she twisted and turned on the edge of the box, releasing a venomous strike that stung the outstretched palm of Bracewell.

Gilliat was threatening again not long after as she blasted into the box and cut in. The resulting shot looked destined for the top corner but it kept rising and skimmed the bar. Minutes later the keeper was latching onto another fierce free-kick from the winger.

Burnley looked to equalise 15 minutes from the end as Greenhalgh sprinted through again. Her lofted cross dropped dangerously towards the goal but substitute Levi Rathburn missed her chance to connect with the ball just inches from the post.

Sophie Domingo missed a golden opportunity to increase her side’s lead after fantastic work from Amy Sims to drive into the box. The number two flicked the ball over to the onrushing Domingo, but the first time connection saw the ball fly well over the bar from yards out.

Greenhalgh almost equalised again in the dying minutes of the game. She utilised her tenacious pace for a third time, breaking through the Derby backline. The attacker cut in and lashed a shot past Morgan, whistling just wide of the far post.

However, the Ewe Rams round out deserving winners to move into third place in the FA National League Northern Division.