Derby County Ladies were able to continue their incredible, unbeaten start to the season after a daunting derby day victory against Nottingham Forest Ladies.
Under the lights and watchful eye of 1,642 spectators at Pride Park Stadium, Amy Sims scored the only and decisive goal of the game to give the Ewe Rams a hard-fought victory.
The first half was very much the battle of the tricky strikers. Both Derby’s Andi Bell and Forest’s Katie Middleton remained a constant goal threat in the opening stages of what quickly became a very end to end encounter.
The first real opportunity of the match fell to the visitors. Some great work between Middleton and Stephanie Lee opened up Derby’s defence. Lee finished from close range, but the goal was ruled out for offside. Derby, though, didn’t let this affect them and responded almost immediately with a great opportunity of their own; Bell found herself with a yard of space at the edge of the box, but her effort flew narrowly wide of the target.
Bell was at it again minutes later. Her headed effort looped just over the bar and onto the roof of the net as Derby looked in search of the opening goal. Forest goalkeeper Rebecca Thomas was forced into action for the first time of the match- equalling Bell’s strike from close range.
Derby continued to have a growing influence in the first half as the detrimental, Bell went through on goal again but only managed to find the side netting on her low driven attempt.
After 20 minutes of bombardment on the Forest goal, Derby finally had something to show for all their efforts. Captain Hannah Ward’s corner was met by Sims who headed in at the near post after a superb run across goal. It proved to be the last action of the half as Derby headed down the tunnel with a 1-0 lead.
Forest started the second half brightly and had the first real chance. Sammy Conroy flicked a header to the back post to an oncoming Middleton who failed to connect from close range. Derby re-established their authority mid-way through the second half and began to grow in confidence in possession.
However, the Ewe Rams were dealt a severe blow when Camilla Newton was forced off due to a hamstring injury. After having already made all three substitutions prior to the injury, the Ewe Rams had to endure the remaining 10 minutes of the match with only 10 players.
But they remained resilient and didn’t allow the extra woman advantage count, earning themselves back to back League victories against their most fierce of rivals.