Derby County Ladies Football Club

Gritty Ewes Hit Target with Sheffield Win

Match Report by Derby University Football Journalism Student Luke Thrower

The Ewe Rams confirmed their highest ever finish in the FA Women’s National League Northern Division with a 1-0 win over a plucky Sheffield FC Ladies thanks to substitute Cara Newton’s second half strike.

It was a combative game of football at the Don Amott Arena with several minutes of stoppage time being played at the end of both halves as well as Supporter’s Player of the Year Emily Joyce unfortunately having to be replaced due to injury.

Despite the physical nature of the game, Derby battled well to leave the game with all three points to confirm they will finish in the top four, due to Middlesbrough having already played out their remaining fixtures.

The game started out with real attacking intent from Derby. Just two minutes in Kira Rai’s dancing drive into the box beat several players and despite the cutback into the box not finding a player, Monique Watson did collect the loose ball on the edge of the box but her shot went blazing over.

Sheffield did show signs of threatening though. Conroy’s 25-yard strike crashed into the cross bar as the visitors grew into the game.

Andi Bell went close just before the end of the half, being played through one on one but the Sheffield ‘keeper Clarke made a good save, despite the offside flag being raised.

Just after the break, Sheffield had a chance. Amy Sims’ back pass to Leah Kellogg in the Derby goal was just short of reaching her. Tinsley managed to nip in behind to collect the ball and smashed it goalward however, Kellogg was equal to it before Tinsley put the rebound over the bar.

With fifteen minutes left on the clock, Derby struck. Bell’s ferocious run on the right-hand side created the space and the forward managed to put a cross in the box despite the pressure. The cross managed to find substitute Cara Newton, who managed to fire her shot onto the underside of the crossbar to beat Clarke in the Sheffield goal.

As the game drew to a close, Derby had to stay resolute despite the late pressure from the visitors. In added time, a dangerous ball was fizzed into the box. Tinsley stretched every sinew in her body to turn the ball goalward bound, but it wasn’t enough to turn it in as the Ewe Rams stood firm to take all three points.

Derby face Doncaster Belles away next Sunday in their final match of the league campaign. A point from the game would guarantee a third placed finish but a second place finish is possible if the Ewe Rams better Sunderland Ladies result on the day.