Derby County Ladies Football Club

Three wins on the Bounce for Ewe Rams

Match Report written by Derby University Football Journalism Student Luke Thrower

The Ewe Rams saw out a 2-1 victory over Stoke City, despite a late barrage on goal from the Potters Ladies, thanks to goals from Stephanie Smith and Andi Bell before half time.

The visitors did put the pressure on late, scoring just eleven minutes from time as Jodie Redgrave unfortunately turned it into her own net.

Derby went into the game just two points behind Stoke, knowing victory would see them leapfrog the Potters in the table whilst also on the back of a 7-2 thrashing over Hull. The Ewe Rams made three changes for the game as Smith, Redgrave and Rachael Ball all started, whilst captain Hannah Ward and Cara Newton were absent and Nikki Ledgister dropped to the bench.

The Ewe Rams nearly got off to the perfect start as confusion in the Stoke defence saw Redgrave have a shot that needed height to go through the crowd, but it narrowly went over the bar in the 1st minute.

The Potters then started the brighter of the two sides, with Hannah Keryakopolis hitting the bar from a shot at the edge of the 18-yard box that Kellogg managed to collect with relative ease after.

Derby began to grow into the game, Smith having two chances in as many minutes but couldn’t quite test Burnside in the Stoke goal. Redgrave did have Burnside beat though, letting fly from 20-yards but she was denied by the woodwork.

The deadlock was broken just five minutes before the break. Smith’s thunderous striker from outside the area beat Burnside and nestled into the top corner. The lead was quickly doubled by the Ewe Rams, as Andi Bell made the most of a defensive blunder from the visitors. The on running defender accidentally chipped Burnside, giving Bell time and space to finish in the box, scoring Derby’s 19th goal in just the last three fixtures.

In the second half, the game became a finely poised midfield battle. Cresswell’s ambitious freekick from 30-yards forced an incredible save from Burnside in the Stoke goal. Swiftly after, Monique Watson made way, after an impressive display, for Nikki Ledgister as she made her 200th appearance in a Derby shirt.

Bell came close to doubling her tally for the evening, as a ball over the top in the 70th minute landed for the lethal striker, who’s shot hit the bar. The shot was the second time the Ewe Rams were denied by the woodwork on the night.

With just over ten minutes remaining, Stoke put pressure on the hosts. A dangerous ball across the face of the goal was unfortunately turned in by Redgrave making for a nervy last ten minutes. Derby managed to hold on, despite the late pressure from the Potters, which saw them leapfrog Stoke and move up to fourth.

After the Match, Ewe Rams Manager Sam Griffiths was delighted to pick up the points and praised her side’s battling qualities.

Griffiths said “It’s never an easy game against Stoke but we were ready to come away with something and you can just tell the work that is being put in at training is really starting to show.

“We knew the second-half would be tough as they don’t give up and we battled so well and I think we had a few chances tonight and little bit disappointed we’ve only score two in the end. I think we looked a threat every time we went forward.

“We’ve had to make a late change and bring Amy into the centre-back role and she was outstanding and I thought Goalkeeper Leah Kellogg was another who shone tonight and did what she needed to do to get us the points. Both Goalkeepers have been outstanding this season and I couldn’t ask for more from them both on and off the pitch.”

Derby now look ahead to the next fixture at home to 6th placed Fylde on Sunday, making for an interesting clash at the Don Amott Arena as the Ewe Rams aim to make it four wins on the bounce.