Derby County Ladies Football Club

Ewe Rams Win Shoot-out to Progress in League Cup

Match Report by Derby University Football Journalism Student William Furness

Derby County Ladies progressed to the semi-final of the Women’s League Cup after edging past Brighouse Town Ladies on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Annabelle Cass’ controversial penalty in the 70th minute cancelled out Ellie Gilliatt’s opener in the 11th minute. Neither team capitalised on the chances they created, resulting in the game having to be decided on penalties which Derby eventually won 3-0 at the Yorkshire Payments Stadium.

Derby Manager Samantha Griffiths said: “I think throughout the whole course of the game we were well below the sort of standards and the way we can play, but sometimes you have to grind them results out and that is what we did today.”

The Ewe Rams controlled the first half and broke the deadlock in the 11th minute, with Hannah Keryakoplis flicking the ball to Gilliatt who had all the time in the world to tuck the ball into the back of the net and grab her 10th goal of the season.

Keryakoplis came close to doubling the Rams’ advantage in the 38th minute as she went on a mazy run, full of twists and turns but her eventual shot just whistled past the top corner.

Rob Mitchell’s Brighouse side grew into the game in the 2nd half and in the 62nd minute had a great chance to bring the game level. Hannah Freibach found some space in the box and, from an acute angle, popped off a fierce shot that looked destined for the top corner, but Sarah Morgan did superbly well to push it over the bar.

However, Brighouse did eventually get the equaliser, in five minutes of madness. A penalty was given to Town for a supposed handball, but it appeared that the ball came off Megan Tinsley’s face.

Cass took the resulting penalty which was saved well by Morgan down low, but the Linesman noticed an encroachment which was believed to be Morgan being off her line.

The penalty was therefore retaken, and Cass made no mistake this time as she tucked the ball in the back of the net to draw the game level.

The controversy didn’t stop there as protests towards the officials earned Tinsley a 10-minute sin bin, a new rule imposed by the FA in the summer. Derby managed to survive the 10 minutes with 10 Women on the pitch and the game needed Extra-Time.

Griffiths added: “Meg has got a nice mark on her face and I think even their bench said it hit her face. At the end of the day you have to get on with it, it was more disappointing that they had to retake it after we saved it.”

“I think the girls adapted well (to the sin bin). They even made changes themselves on the pitch so that was nice to see.”

 In the 105th minute, Keryakoplis went on of her usual runs, gliding past a couple of helpless Brighouse defenders, but her rocket of a shot was palmed onto the post by Jess Houldsworth.

The hosts will have rued their missed chances just as much as Derby, as in the second half of extra time, as a clever free-kick routine almost caught the Ewe Rams out but Morgan on her 150th appearance for the club, was equal to the eventual shot.

The penalty shoot put was a fairly routine one for Derby as the home side missed all of their first 3 attempts, Derby scoring all of theirs through Callan barber, Amy Sims with Gilliatt’s penalty sending Samantha Griffiths Women into the next round.

Callan Barber, Derby Midfielder, said: “I think most people that have watched us this season say would say we create our fair share of chances. We need to work on being more clinical and not needing Extra Time or penalties.”

Derby now turn their attention to the FA Women’s Cup where they face bitter rivals Nottingham Forest.