Derby County Ladies Football Club

Ewe Rams Secure Local Bragging Rights with Stunning Comeback

(Match Report written by Derby University Football Journalism Student Thomas Smith)

Derby County Ladies Football Club produced a memorable turnaround to defeat rivals Nottingham Forest Ladies Football Club 3-2.

The dramatic comeback saw the Ewe Rams secure victory after trailing by two goals to nil with half an hour remaining, in a performance manager John Bennett hailed as “Absolutely brilliant!”

A late Leanne De Silva goal proved to be the winner, but not before Sarah Morgan saved a last minute spot kick.

On an afternoon of high drama Derby started brightly at the Don Amott Arena when Leanne De Silva and Molly Johnson combined. The neat exchange allowing Lauren Cresswell the opportunity to cross, but this was overhit, before Andi Bell attempted an opportunist looping volley which landed on the roof of the net.

Inside a quarter of an hour the Ewe Rams again threatened the visitors goal, as Shannon Weston pounced on the loose ball only to be smothered by Rebecca Thomas in the Forest goal.

However despite the early Derby pressure, the Reds settled down and began their own attacking offensive. 

A sharp break from Nicola Emery fed the on rushing Natasha Hudson, who’s shot was well blocked at the last. 

Following a series of corners from the away side, the increasing pressure finally told with Forest opening the scoring. 

Samantha Conroy was quickest to react from a corner and neatly rounded Sarah Morgan in the home sides goal before finishing right footed. 

Despite the setback Derby continued with their forward thinking performance and after seeing clear further Forest set pieces, Bell was unfortunate a teammate was unable to latch onto her cross.

The half culminated with another effort from the Ewe Rams when full back Johnson struck a long range free kick narrowly wide.

Yet for all the pressure Derby trailed and just moments into the second half the Ewe Rams hopes of bragging rights were dealt a further blow. 

Goalkeeper Morgan misplaced a clearance, with the visitors Natasha Hudson capitalising. The Forest player took time to set herself before clipping the ball over Morgan to double the away teams advantage.

However the Derby heads refused to drop and with just over an hour gone the Ewe Rams were given a lifeline.

Right back Amy Sims burst into the penalty area and took aim, firing home across the Nottingham Forest goalkeeper.

This momentum was now with the hosts and after Forest forward Emery had an effort held by Morgan the tide had evidently turned.

Johnson who had set her sights previously, this time found her range, the full back showing both precision and power to thunder home the equaliser from a free kick.

Not content with a point, John Bennett’s side went in search of the winner, but may have thought their chance had gone when Kelly Kennaugh could only flick over at the near post from a corner.

However with just 5 minutes remaining Derby deservedly took the lead – albeit in controversial circumstances.

De Silva’s strike from the edge of the area cannoned down off the crossbar with the officials awarding the goal, deeming the ball to have crossed the line.

Wild scenes of jubilation followed, but these were swiftly extinguished with Forest awarded a late penalty. 

But the feeling of euphoria was soon recaptured as Morgan saved superbly low down, from Summer Holmes’ spot kick to give the Ewe Rams victory in ‘El Cloughico’.

The performance from Derby was a resilient and ultimately successful one, as highlighted by manager Bennett.

“We have just shown what character we’ve got in this group. Again we have to go down two-nil to show what character we’ve got, but it was never in question today. There was a feel good factor. Even when the second goal went in, we stuck to our guns and tried to get back into the game. Our heads didn’t drop and I’m absolutely delighted for the girls, they’ve got what they deserve today.”

Ecstatic with the result, Bennett acknowledged the fans invaluable influence.

“The crowd were fantastic, I want to thank them again. It’s not the first time they’ve been vocal and it’s not the first time they’ve come down in numbers. I think they were our twelfth man today and I’m delighted for them.”

The Ewe Rams next match is an away trip to Huddersfield Town Ladies on the 26th November.