Derby County Ladies Football Club

Under 11’s (Black Socks)

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Derby County Ladies U12DGL Black Socks v Toton United U12s

19th January 2019

With the League title secured during last week’s win against Burton, Team Manager Dom Anderson decided to further challenge the girls during their game against Toton by starting a number of them in unfamiliar positions. Hollie, Courtney and Abi, who usually play in attack, started in defence with Faith, Belle and Emma pushed further upfield. At times the Black Socks weren’t as fluid as usual, but no matter where they are asked to play the girls adapt and show their quality and ultimately ran out comfortable 5-0 winners.

Toton had the first attack of the game as Derby tried to adjust to the changes. Their striker almost broke clear, but Hollie had tracked her run and shepherded her away from goal before clearing out of play. Although playing in defence, Hollie still had opportunities to push forward and she was found with a lovely clipped ball from Ayla in midfield but her shot was just wide of the post.

Alex produced good footwork on the edge of the box to create an opening for a shot, but the keeper was behind it and made the save. Then Ellie did well wide on the right and her cross in to the box found Alex, as she made contact the ball looped up and was knocked behind by Toton. Abi took the resulting corner and found Courtney who had made a late decision to go up for the set-piece from her position at centre-half. She took a touch before rifling the ball in to the back of the net for her tenth goal of the season.

Back in her role at the centre of defence, Courtney broke up a Toton attack and cleared the ball to Alex. She and Ellie produced a great series of one-twos down the right, before Ellie whipped in an excellent cross in to the box. Imogen had burst from midfield and tried to head in the cross, but she just failed to make contact.

Derby continued to have most of the possession, and Ayla had an excellent shot from twenty yards which the keeper had to knock behind for a corner. Then Ayla showed great footwork to move the ball away from her marker, but her shot was saved by the keeper.

Although Toton weren’t troubling Sophie in goal, they were putting a lot of pressure on our defence and there were a few last ditch tackles to clear the ball or knock it behind for a corner. From one of Toton’s corners, Belle intercepted the ball inside her own box and then ran with it to the halfway line, dribbling through three challenges. She continued her run and broke in to the opposition half; as she reached the box she was being closed down, but spotted that Jasmine had sprinted to join her. She flicked the ball inside to her teammate, but she was closed down and Toton finally managed to clear the ball behind for a corner, but it had been an outstanding counter-attack by Derby’s number 2.

Faith, who played a more advanced position this week, did well to dribble in to the box and get a shot on target. The keeper made the save but pushed the ball out wide. Most players thought it was going out for a corner, but Faith chased after it to keep it in and from a tight angle knocked it past the keeper with her left foot.

Faith continued to cause problems for the Toton defence and although she was closed down by a couple of defenders the ball broke loose to Belle, but she pinged her shot just wide. Just before the interval, Belle had another opportunity when Courtney won the ball on the half-way line and played it in to her. She ran in to the box, but as the keeper rushed off her line to close the angle she poked it just the wrong side of the post.

At the start of the second half Hollie and Abi moved in to forward positions alongside Faith who was on the right-wing. Derby were again dominant and there was little threat on Sophie’s goal, but the Black Socks struggled to carve out any clear chances in the opening minutes. This was mainly due to the excellent performance from Toton’s number nine, who was outstanding in defence and had an ongoing battle with Faith in particular, pushing her in to wide positions and then using her strength to manoeuvre her off the ball.

The chances that Derby did create tended to come from Hollie on the left. Following one of her runs she squared the ball to Abi in the box. She took a touch and then turned and shot but the keeper made the save. Then Ayla played the ball in to Abi, but she was forced wide by the Toton No9. She still managed to get her shot away, but again the keeper was equal to it. Abi finally got her goal following a throw down the left by Emma. It was collected by Hollie who ran to the touchline before squaring it in to Abi on the penalty spot. She took a quick touch before poking it past the keeper.

Ellie, playing in the right-back position late in the second half, did a typically good run down the wing. As she was closed down she played it inside to Olivia who did brilliantly to drive in to the box. As she broke in to the area, she unselfishly squared it to Hollie who was in the better position for the shot and the Ewes number eleven rifled it home for the fourth goal of the game. It was great awareness from Olivia and typified her excellent midfield and defensive performance.

Derby added a fifth just before the end of the game. Hollie fired in a superb corner from the right which Imogen met on the volley from close in, giving the keeper no chance. At the final whistle the girls were rewarded with a round of hot-chocolates from Martin’s Tuck Shop as the game had been played in bitterly cold conditions.

After the match Dom reflected on the challenges he had set the team. “I was pleased to see how they adapted and it will do them the world of good to do that more often. It took them out of their comfort zone but I was impressed with how they performed.” Louise, Jasmine’s mum, added “I can’t believe how weird it felt watching girls in different positions. They played brilliantly, great to watch but I’m not looking forward to washing the kit…”


* Courtney

* Faith

* Abi

* Hollie

* Imogen