Derby County Ladies Football Club

Ewe Rams Too Strong for Millers in WPL Cup

Derby County Ladies secured their passage into the FA Women’s Premier League Cup Main Draw after a 7-0 win over Rotherham United Ladies.

With Manager John Bennet absent for a few weeks due to health issues, Director of Football Sam Griffiths and Assistant Manager Jenny Simpson made five changes to the side that beat Stoke City Ladies 4-1 in the opening game of the season.

Zoe Millington made her return to the side with regular goalkeeper Sarah Morgan away, whilst there was welcome returns to the side for Lisa Giampalma, Leanne De Silva and Lauren Cresswell. Kate Wright made her debut for the Ewe Rams replacing the absent Cam Newton at left-back.

With the game being played at Derby University, the Ewe Rams made a cautious start looking to build their attacking game against a side that struggled in last season’s FA Women’s Premier League Midland One Division. 

The breakthrough came on 16 minutes when a quick free-kick caught the Rotherham defence napping and Andi Bell’s cross found Nikki Ledgister who made no mistake with a first time shot. 

Within two minutes, Derby doubled their lead as an inch perfect through ball from Hannah Ward found Lisa Giampalma, who rounded the keeper to slot home for a 2-0 lead.

Further chances came for the Ewe Rams across the team with Lauren Cresswell, Bell, Ledgister and Giampalma all having efforts saved from an inspired Rotherham United goalkeeper.

A third goal on the brink of the half-time whistle was deserved for the home side’s perseverance as Karagh Tait smashed in a 30-yard effort to give the Ewe Rams a 3-0 lead at half-time.

Derby intensified the pressure at the start of the second-half with Giampalma having a goal bound effort well saved and Cresswell’s header inches the wrong side of the post. On 52 minutes the Ewe Rams added a fourth and a debut goal for substitute Georgia Hewitt who followed up Ledgister’s shot to fire home for a 4-0 lead.

Former Nottingham Forest Ladies striker Andi Bell added a fifth for  Derby on 56 minutes after some sublime one touch football ended with an exquisite chip that had the crowd purring in delight.

A sixth goal came via the penalty spot on 63 minutes after Ledgister was brought down after bearing down on the Rotherham United Ladies goal, with Leanne De Silva making no mistake on the second attempt, after encroaching by the visitors on the original penalty. 

More chances came for the EweRams but to the visitors credit, they created a higher defensive line that thwarted the efforts to add more goals until the final few minutes of the match.

The final act came via a driving run down the right from substitute Sophia Bonser, who’s cross found Bell unmarked to add her second of the game and ensure a 7-0 victory for the Ewe Rams and a place in the main draw of the WPL Cup. 

Director of Football Sam Griffiths said “It was a good performance again and we seem to be growing each game and gelling as a unit. It’s never easy when you face lower league opposition and are expected to win. 

“You have to break down the defences and credit to Rotherham United, they never made it easy and fought all the way. At half-time the girls were a little deflated with the score-line but we told them it would come if they relaxed and in the second-half, you could see they began to open up the space.

“We now have to look towards the Nottingham Forest game but we don’t worry about them. We have to look at what we are doing and if we put the work in, the result will be reflected in that. It won’t be easy, they have a new look squad, similar to what we have and its about who has that quality to unlock the other team. 

Player of the Match – Lisa Giampalma