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 4th Match

6th April 2019

With both teams having already qualified for the League Cup Final on the 18th May, this final Group Stage could have been classed as a dead-rubber. However, no match between the top two teams in the U12s Derbyshire Girls and Ladies League is ever meaningless and both sides battled hard during a highly competitive 4-1 win for the Black Socks.

Derby were without Emma, Faith and Alex, which meant Imogen dropped in to defence alongside Belle. Although it was an unfamiliar position for her she was outstanding, producing a player of the match performance and breaking-up Burton’s attacks throughout. Despite playing deep she created the Ewes first chance of the game with a through ball to Courtney, who knocked it past a defender before shooting straight at the keeper.

Burton were threatening in the early stages and Belle reacted quickest to an Albion break, blocking the cross behind for a corner. The ball was whipped across the face of goal but no-one could get on the end of it and Derby cleared. All of the Ewes girls played superbly, largely dominating the game. Olivia was outstanding, dropping deep to support the defence while bursting forward whenever the opportunity allowed. She was involved in a lovely passing move with Viktoria and Ellie, playing a series of one-twos to move the ball quickly downfield, before Burton broke up play just outside the box.

Courtney, who started the game in attack, was using her pace and power to pressure the Burton defence, which enabled her to find an opening for a shot but the keeper made a comfortable save. She then dropped deeper to win the ball and play in Hollie but her shot was also straight at the keeper. Then Ayla collected the ball from a Burton goalkick, moved the ball to make an opening, but her left foot shot was too close to the goalkeeper.

Along with Imogen, Belle was superb in defence, restricting Burton to one opportunity in the first half. The ball was played in to the box and found the Number 10 in space. She hit a good shot on the half volley, but couldn’t keep it down and it flew just over the bar. Burton had changed tactics part way through the first half, following a shout of “Miami” from their coach. Three girls went further forward with the other players trying to hit them with longer balls downfield. But the Derby defence and midfield pressed quickly, winning back possession and moving the ball upfield with fast passing and direct runs through the middle and either wing.

Derby eventually opened the scoring through a somewhat fortuitous goal. Hollie took a throw-in down the left, deep inside the Burton half. Courtney knocked the ball on in to the penalty box, the keeper came out to collect, but misjudged the bounce and it went over her head towards goal. Abi had gambled on the error and was there to knock it in before the keeper could recover and clear the ball.

Derby started to create more chances once they had taken the lead. A ball was played over the top for Abi to chase, her pace got her there first and as she bore down on goal the keeper rushed off her line to narrow the angle and make an excellent save. Then Courtney knocked the ball to Ayla on the edge of the box, she rolled it towards Abi, who was twelve yards out. She turned and shot first time but the ball went just wide of the post.

During the week, Derby County Ladies’ record goalscorer and club legend, Cara Newton had joined the girls for training. She also came to the watch them play against Burton and was impressed by the quality of their football. Derby continued to push for a second before half-time. A corner from Hollie was met on the volley by Courtney but her shot went over the bar. Then Ellie did well down the right, playing the ball inside to Olivia who knocked it on to Ayla. She took a touch before shooting but the ball was blocked behind for a corner, and the Black Socks took a slender one goal lead in to the interval.

Early in the second-half Belle released Hollie down the left with a fantastic pass. She beat her defender before whipping in a cross to Jasmine, but the Burton keeper, who had a very good game, was equal to it and made the save. Burton had tried to nullify the threat that Hollie poses by sometimes having two players on her and being quick to close her down if it looked like she had a chance to run. This was effective in the first-half, but in the second-half Hollie came in to the game more and more and started to torment the Burton defenders down the Derby left. She burst in to the box and looked odds-on to score but her shot cannoned off the post and bounced out. The ball was knocked back in to her and this time she pulled the shot wide of the post.

After a couple of near misses, the Derby number 11 then scored one of the goals of the season. Sophie took a goalkick to Belle. She created space and played a lovely pass in to Hollie, who was halfway inside the Derby half. She set off on a run, beating three Burton defenders, breaking in to the box before crashing the ball past the keeper to double the Ewes lead. Did someone say Giggs v Arsenal in the FA Cup Semi Final Replay in 1999?

Hollie now had the wind in her sails. She made another great run down the left, beat two Burton defenders, then went back and beat one of them again, before crossing in to Ayla who calmly slotted the ball past the keeper for three-nil. Derby were looking dangerous with every attack. Hollie and Abi both had goals narrowly ruled out for off-side. However, Burton pulled a goal back with about eight minutes remaining. The ball was played in to the box, Derby failed to clear their lines and the ball reached a Burton player on the edge of the box. She crashed an excellent shot in to the corner of the net, giving Sophie no chance.

Burton tried to push Derby back, but Abi picked the ball up in her own half and ran with it to the Burton by-line before she was crowded out, to win a corner, and relieve any pressure. The ball was whipped in to the box and Viktoria got her toe to it, but poked it wide of the post. Derby added a fourth to kill any suggestion of a Burton fightback, and what a goal it was. Courtney switched play across to Ayla, she played it in to Abi at the edge of the box. Her turn and shot was blocked and bounced out to Olivia, who adjusted her body to hit it sweetly on the half-volley, through a crowded area in to the corner of the net. Did someone say Eric Cantona against Liverpool in the 1996 FA Cup Final?

Derby were comfortable for the remainder of the game and were good value for their 4-1 victory. With Dom unavailable his assistant, Nathan Stevens, took charge of the team. After the game he said “Well done to all the girls today, the performance was fantastic. Cara was very impressed with everyone and was very complementary. Imogen got the player of the match award. I thought she showed amazing composure on the ball, it was like she had played there for years. Olivia was a close second, she put in a shift and half covering every blade of grass, and what a goal! I was proud of everyone today – a minimum of 9 out of 10 all round.” Ellie’s Dad, Chris, added “They were all superb. They worked for each other all game and limited Burton to maybe three chances.”


  • Abi
  • Hollie
  • Ayla
  • Olivia