Derby County Ladies Football Club

Ewe Rams Remain Unbeaten after Stoke Draw

Derby County Ladies came away from their 1-1 draw with Stoke City Ladies in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier, with mixed feelings and thoughts of what could have been but remain unbeaten so far this season.

The Ewe Rams went a goal down after 10 minutes as Stoke’s Emily Owen rose highest to head the home side in front, but the visitors were level on the hour as a Faye McCoy own goal ensured a point but left Manager Sam Griffiths with mixed thoughts.

Griffiths said “We had six first-team regulars missing through injury from the Forest game and I said to the team beforehand that each and everyone of them could have started last Sunday and today has proved that.

“We knew that if we got the ball down on the floor, we had the quality in the team to come away with something. We know how good Stoke can be and what kind of side they are but looking back on it, i’m a little gutted that we haven’t got the win after dominating for most of the game.

“We need to be a bit more clinical at times and have work to do on movement and timing of pass in the final third of the pitch but it’s something for us to asses and build on and all in all it’s going in the right direction.

“Our back line have again been excellent and the two centre-halves have struck up a great partnership and the way Hannah and Karagh read the game and control from the back says a lot about what we are trying to do.

“We will now get a recovery session in tomorrow and rest up over the weekend. We were supposed to have a friendly but we have had two tough games in differing conditions and we will take some time to reflect and then go again next week, ready for Belles.”

Griffiths made five changes to the weekend’s line-up with Sarah Morgan preferred to Leah Kellogg in goal, whilst Rachael Ball, Moriah McIntosh, Emily Joyce and Olivia Mitcham all started with injuries to Callan Barber, Amy Sims, Cam Newton and Nikki Ledgister.

The hosts had the better of the early exchanges and took the lead through Owens on 10 minutes when she headed past Morgan in the Derby goal. However, the Ewe Rams re-grouped quickly and grew into the game with both Mitcham and Andi Bell causing problems at the head of the pitch.

Just after the half-hour, there was controversy as a long ball over the top caused confusion with Potters goalkeeper Stacey Wright handling outside the area but she was allowed to remain on the pitch with only a yellow card given.

The game was going at a frenetic pace with tackles flying in with Bell on the end of some harsh treatment. The home side had the ball in the net inside the final 10 minutes of the half but a foul on Hannah Ward saw the Ewes remain a goal behind at the break but with momentum firmly in their hands.

The visitors again came out on top in the early exchanges of the second-half and were rewarded on the hour as the home side failed to clear a corner with a deflection off Stoke’s McCoy pulling Derby level.

With the Ewes now firmly in control, the home side were on the back-foot and were thankful that at times, Derby were not clinical enough in front of goal, with chances for Bell, Jodie Redgrave and Cara Newton.

That meant that the visitors had to settle for a point and a positive performance that keeps them unbeaten so far this season ahead of their next game at home on the 23rd September against Doncaster Rovers Belles at Mickleover Sports FC.