Derby County Ladies Football Club

Under 11’s (Black Socks)

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Derby County Ladies U11 Black Socks v Wirksworth Colts FC U12s

8th December 2018

Due to the attacking prowess of the U11 Black Socks, our goalkeeper, Sophie, hasn’t had too many opportunities to be the hero this season. However, her reactions on a blustery day at the Racecourse, while the game was finely balanced at 2-1, would prove to be the key moment in a difficult encounter against a fine Wirksworth team.

Following the amount of rain in the preceding days there was a level of surprise that the match was announced as being “on” at 7.30 the morning of the game. However, the pitch was in good condition even if it was extremely windy and playing against the wind in the first half, Derby adopted the correct tactic of trying to pass the ball on the ground. Wirksworth pressed well and in the opening minutes chances were limited. Emma on the left and Belle on the right both performed well at fullback, making a number of excellent tackles and their good footwork enabled them to create the space to play out from the back rather than hitting the ball long.

Viktoria and Olivia combined well in the centre before playing in Courtney, but the Wirksworth defence did well to close the space and clear. Then Ellie, starting on the right-wing, cut inside rather than outside the defender and again found Courtney in the box. Her short was put behind by the keeper for a corner, which was cleared.

Imogen forced a save from the keeper following good link up play between Faith and Courtney. Viktoria almost opened the scoring but her shot from wide right was put behind. Ellie took the resulting corner, which found Courtney almost on the penalty spot. She took a touch to steady herself before smashing it past the keeper for one-nil.

Wirksworth created a number of openings during the game and tested the Black Socks’ defence more than any other team so far this season. They had a good run down their right, before firing in a cross which went across the face of goal. A combination of Belle and Viktoria managed to clear our lines before a Colts player could tap home.

At the other end, Ellie had a good shot from distance, which the keeper saved but could only get one hand on it. Imogen had followed the shot in and tried to knock it in to the net, but guided it just wide of the post. She then produced good footwork when she was found in the top left of the penalty box to create an opening for a shot but the goalkeeper did well to make the save. The ball bounced clear to Viktoria who was running in at the top of the box and her snapshot fired the ball wide of the upright.

The Colts continued to try to test the Ewe’s defence. It looked like they were going to create a one-on-one following a good through ball but Sophie was alive to situation and came off her line to collect the ball. Then Emma had to be alert to read a good cross from the right and clear. Hollie collected the ball down the Black Socks’ left, beat a defender before firing in her cross which Abi met in the centre of goal, five yards out, to double the Ewes’ lead.

Viktoria, a tireless player who can cover a number of positions, was producing a typical display – a mixture of strong pressing and driving runs. She was breaking up a number of Wirksworth moves through the centre of the pitch and pushing forward to create opportunities. Derby continued to look for further goals in the first-half. Ayla passed to Abi who was at the top right of the box, she shot across goal but the ball went just the wrong side of the post.

Derby created a number of opportunities late in the half and the Black Socks were unlucky not to find the target. Olivia collected the ball from a throw-in and found Alex in the box but she shot over the angle of the post and crossbar. Then Alex turned provider, she did well to get a cross-in to Abi, but again the Ewe’s striker’s shot was just wide. Ayla also fired wide when the ball broke to her in the box.

Wirksworth almost pulled a goal back just before the interval. They broke past the Ewes’ defence, Emma tried to make a recovering challenge but clipped the Colts’ striker just outside the box. Four girls lined up in the wall, but the opposition number six hit a fantastic freekick which clipped the top of the bar and bounced over. Parents from both sides applauded the chance, but Derby held their two goal lead up to half-time.

Derby had a handful of half-chances at the start of the second-half. Imogen had a shot from distance, then Alex played in our number six who shot just past the post. A goalmouth scramble saw the ball break to Abi, but she shot wide. Emma played the ball down the left to Hollie whose cross found Imogen, but her shot was put behind for a corner.

Derby were then made to pay for the chances they had missed as Wirksworth got a foothold in the game. Their number 10 made a great run down the Black Socks’ left, beating a couple of players and firing in a cross come shot. Sophie got a hand to it and tipped it away, but a Colts player had followed in and was there to tap home. It lifted Wirksworth, who minutes later burst through the centre of the pitch for the moment that changed the game. The striker was one-on-one with Sophie. At training on Tuesday, Dom and Nathan had been working with Sophie on coming off her line and making herself as big as possible when a striker was clean through. That is exactly what she did, making the goal smaller for the striker whose shot Sophie saved, and the ball was eventually cleared by the Ewes defence. It was a huge save in the context of the game and kept the Black Socks ahead.

A couple of minutes later Derby had the breathing space they needed. Courtney did well to win possession just outside Wirksworth’s box, she was closed down but the ball broke left to Hollie. Her shot across goal was going wide, but Abi had gambled at the back post and was there to knock it in. Having been so close to drawing level, losing a goal so quickly seemed to deflate Wirksworth’s players and Derby added a fourth soon after. Emma did well down the left before playing it to Hollie who fired it in to the corner of the goal.

Derby pushed Wirksworth back inside their own half for much of the remainder of the game. With the wind behind her, Emma had a shot from twenty yards which was high over the bar, then Hollie hit the post from close range. Alex, now playing central midfield, was involved in a number of chances. Firstly, she did well to win the ball just outside the box, turn inside and pass in to Imogen at the back-post but her shot was saved. She than passed to Olivia, who played it wide to Hollie who smashed in the Ewe’s fifth goal. Alex and Hollie combined again for our number eleven to complete her hat-trick, before she added her fourth when a lofted ball broke to her in the box for a simple tap-in.

Viktoria then scored the goal of the game. She collected the ball on the half-way line, danced through the Wirksworth challenges, and while the parents on the touchline were encouraging her to pass she continued her run in to the box, twisting and turning, before rifling home. It was a great example of one of Coach Anderson’s maxims to his players – “Don’t listen to your parents, make your own decisions.”

Ellie did well down the right to find Ayla and her cross picked out Olivia whose shot was saved by the keeper. Then Imogen, who finished the game at centre-back, was isolated for a Wirksworth attack,

but she did brilliantly to break-up play and give the defence and midfield time to recover and help clear. The opposition continued to push for a consolation goal that would have been deserved. Their number nine made a good run but shot wide.

This week Derby were less able to profit from opposition goalkicks, but Olivia almost scored when she returned a clearance from fifteen yards, but her shot was deflected just wide. With seconds to go Ayla added a ninth goal to ensure that one of the twins has been on the scoresheet every game this season.

After the game the coaching team were full of praise for the Black Socks’ performance. “A fantastic showing from the girls today against a very tough team,” said Dom Anderson. “At 2-1 the game could have gone either way but Sophie’s save changed the game and they showed their resilience and battled to a good victory.” His assistant Nathan added, “It was a great game to watch. Wirksworth have improved so much. A challenging game, but the girls rose to the challenge as always.”


* Courtney

* Abi x 2

* Hollie x 4

* Viktoria

* Ayla