Derby County Ladies Football Club

Under 11’s (Black Socks)

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Derby County Ladies U11 Black Socks v Burton Albion Ladies U12s – League Cup Final

18th May 2019

Like the end to any great epic story, the two main protagonists of the U12s 2018/19 season came together for one final battle. If not for the Black Socks Burton would have won the League and Cup and this match gave them one last opportunity to finish the season with silverware. For Derby, one more victory would see them complete a fantastic treble with a 100% winning record in all competitions.

As has been the case in the four previous encounters, the match was extremely competitive with both sides totally committed and not shirking any challenge or tackle. Burton’s Coach set-up his team to contain Derby as much as possible and then to try to hit on the counter. They often had a back four with two midfielders sitting just in front of the defence to try to limit the space for the Ewes to exploit with their slicker passing game. However, this talented group of U11s have developed fantastically this season and continued to move the ball well, looking for angles and runners to create openings as they have been coached to do. They are all confident in their own abilities and those of their teammates and never looked like they were going to lose.

Belle started the game at right wingback and combined well with Olivia and Hollie to create the first clear opening. They passed the ball quickly between one another stretching the play from right to left, before Hollie fed the ball back to Belle whose shot was saved by the goalkeeper.

In the last few matches against Burton their Coach has tried to tightly mark Hollie in an attempt to nullify the threat she poses. Although it has made it slightly tougher for our Number 11, her skill, pace and power means that it’s not possible to keep her quiet for sixty minutes.  She was played in by a great ball out of defence, sprinted away from her marker, knocked it past the last defender and raced in on goal. The goalkeeper came quickly off her line and blocked the shot. The ball came out to Jasmine on the edge of the box and her shot went just wide of the post.

Burton pushed forward when they could, trying to play their attackers in behind the defence. However, Derby has a lot of pace in the team and Emma and Imogen were well positioned to track back and prevent Albion from having a clear sight of goal. They did win a few corners in the first half, which they swung in to the six yard box, but Sophie made herself tall and knocked them away from goal.

Olivia was outstanding in midfield and is the definition of a box to box player. She has a fantastic engine and can run all day, helping out the defence, laying the ball out wide, before sprinting up field to support the attack. She is combative in the tackle and whenever Burton looked to have an opportunity to play in a forward she was there to break up play. As the first half wore on, she again won the ball back for the Black Socks and then knocked it on to Hollie, who was five yards inside the Burton half. She drove through the middle before firing her shot just over the bar.

Although chances were limited in the first half, it was Derby who were creating them through passing, movement and teamwork, however, it was a piece of individual brilliance that opened the scoring. To counter being tightly marked, Hollie will drop deeper to suck in her shadow and the defence, creating the space behind them to exploit. She picked the ball up just inside her own half following a period of Burton pressure. As Albion’s midfield went to close she feinted to go, held on and then knocked the ball past her marker and was away. She muscled past the two defenders who closed on her and was in on goal. She took her time to draw out the keeper and then knocked it past her to put the Ewes one up. This was Hollie’s fiftieth goal of an incredible season, taking her club tally to 100 after just two seasons.

Viktoria played a great ball to release Hollie again and it looked like she was going to add a second, but a superb piece of defending by Burton’s Number 5 knocked the ball away from her. The ball was loose in the box and Derby had a number of shots all of which were blocked by Burton’s defenders throwing themselves in front of the ball. It was heroic defending to prevent the Black Socks from extending their lead and ultimately the ball was cleared downfield.

Burton’s Number 17 worked well and played some good balls in to dangerous areas, but Emma, Imogen and Belle made sure that Sophie’s goal was largely untroubled. Derby managed to score a second just before half-time. Ellie was released down the right wing and played the ball inside to Ayla who had ghosted in to the box. She took a touch from a wide right position and then shot across the keeper and produced a brilliant finish just inside the far post.

In the second half Burton started to play a higher defensive line as they pushed for a goal to get back in the game but this created more space for Derby to exploit through their passing and pace. Both Viktoria and Ayla played Abi in on a couple of occasions. She held the line well and used her pace to get to the ball first and race in on goal. She was forced wide but still managed to get her shots in but the keeper was equal to them. However, the threat this posed meant that Burton could never over commit because they would have been picked off by the movement of the Ewes girls.

Derby were not hitting it long, instead the ball in behind was always a measured, weighted pass. Abi collected the ball on the halfway line and then slipped it through for Viktoria to chase, but again the Burton keeper, who had a very good game, was able to make the save. Abi then chased a ball down on the right wing, won possession and ran to the touchline, she cut the ball back to a teammate but the shot was again saved.

Courtney had moved in to defence in the second half and was outstanding. The Burton forwards, who are a year older than the Black Socks, as well as being technically gifted are also strong and physical, but Courtney often emerged from any tackle with the ball and instead of hoofing it down field, took her time to find the right pass. She was supported brilliantly by Belle, who although much smaller than her opponents, was equal to them in any challenge and produced some fantastic tackles to prevent Burton getting back in to the game.

Derby made the game safe with a well taken third goal. The ball was played in to the box which Abi collected wide on the right. She looked up and picked out Viktoria, who was central, twelve yards out. She took a touch before calmly placing the ball in the far corner, giving the goalkeeper no chance.

Imogen almost added a fourth. Courtney played a great ball in to our number six, who had moved out of defence in the second half. She ran in on goal from a wide left position but her shot was tipped on to the post by the goalkeeper and put behind for a corner, which was taken by Abi. She picked out Viktoria who laid it off to Jasmine but again the Burton keeper made the save. Just before the end of the game, Emma had a freekick from eighteen yards out and whipped her shot just wide of the right hand post.

The final whistle meant that the Black Socks finished the season winning all twenty-six matches they have played, scoring 203 goals, conceding just 13 and securing a League Title, Challenge Cup and League Cup Treble, all while playing a year up from their age group. The performance against Burton was a culmination of everything they have been taught this season by Dom, Nathan and Luke. They played with belief in their own talent. Encouraged to play football by their coaches and not inhibited by any negative or stifling tactics. Summing up the match and the season Dom Anderson said, “The performance was complete. I felt that everything we have worked on all season was on show. Passing, movement and intelligent play. I stood there at one point today and just thought “wow, this is why I got in to coaching, just seeing them play and enjoy it.” This year I believe every single girl has advanced in their development and had fun while doing it. I am proud and they have been a joy to coach.”


  • Hollie
  • Ayla
  • Viktoria