Derby County Ladies Football Club

Ewe Rams Lose Season Opener

Match Report written by Derby University Football Journalism Student Jake Dance

Derby County Ladies fell to a late defeat as they lost 3-2 against newly promoted Burnley Women in the FA Women’s National League North.

The Ewe Rams failed to get off to the ideal start after a promising build up during pre-season. The visitors had initially led 2-0 at the Ruby Civil Arena, with debut goals coming from Ellie Gilliatt and Hannah Keryakoplis.

However, the Clarettes mounted a stunning comeback with Levi Rathburn’s brace levelling the tie, before captain Sarah Greenhalgh converted a late penalty to secure her side all three points.

Derby Manager Sam Griffiths said “All credit to Burnley, they made it difficult for us to play our usual game. They played deep and made us play in front of them.

“This is where you rely on players making good decisions and unfortunately I think this was the biggest thing that let us down today and we need to look at how to break teams down and adapt quicker than what we did.”

Both sides started the game well with Derby’s debutants looking to impress. Gilliatt was one such player, and she took her chance in the 25th minute after a superb through ball sent her past the Burnley defensive line.

Instead of opting to take a touch further, the exciting winger blasted the ball with her first touch and rocketed the ball into the top right from the edge of the box.

Keryakoplis extended the Ewe’s lead 10 minutes later after a superb change of pace from Amy Sims down the left hand side. The full-back arrowed forwards and cut the ball back into the path of the former Stoke striker, who finished with ease at close range.

Rathburn pulled one back for the home side just before the break, after a corner saw the ball ricocheting around the penalty area with Leah Kellogg called upon to make several close range saves.

It turned out to be one too many as the ball dropped to the feet of the Burnley attacker, who slotted calmly into the net to ensure her side cut the deficit down at the break.

Burnley grabbed the equaliser in the opening minutes of the second half as they broke down the left with Rathburn firing the ball across the box where it swerved towards the goal, catching out the Derby keeper as it bundled past her.

Greenhalgh completed the comeback just a few minutes from the end of the game. The referee called for a penalty for an apparent foul from goalkeeper Kellogg and Burnley’s captain made no mistake firing the ball past the Derby goalkeeper to secure the victory for the home side.

Whilst Griffiths was disappointed with the result, the Derby County Ladies Boss was already looking ahead to next week’s game and said “It’s a long season ahead and I have every faith in this group of players to go on and have a successful season.

“As staff we will reflect on today, it’s as much about us as it is the players and make sure we are ready for Burton in the cup next week and putting this result behind as a club.”