Derby County Football Club Women

Defensive Woes Cost Ewe Rams in League Return

Derby County Women were on the wrong side of a nine-goal thriller as they went down 5-4 to Sunderland Ladies on the return to action in the FA Women’s National League Northern Division.

In horrendous conditions for both sides, a poor first-half saw the Ewe Rams ultimately pay the price with defeat despite a spirited second-half comeback that left them agonisingly short of earning at least a point.

Boss Sam Griffiths restored striker Hannah Keryakoplis to the line-up after a long absence through illness whilst their was a place on the bench for new signing Precious Hamilton as she continued to build her match fitness.

Inside the opening minute, the home side caught the Ewe Rams cold as a 35-yard effort from Louise Griffiths eluded all to nestle in the net for the opening goal of the game.

Derby hit back within minutes as Keryakoplis marked her return to action by firing into the bottom corner from the edge of the box to level the match with the game settling into an even contest.

However, it was was the Black Cat Ladies that took control of the game in the first-half as first Emily Scarr rose highest to fire home a header, before Keira Ramshaw found space in behind Derby to fire past Charlotte Clarke in the Ewes goal.

With half-time approaching, the hosts added a fourth as a low cross was bundled over the line by a Derby defender to give breathing room at the break with a 4-1 lead.

With conditions turning in the Ewes favour, the visitors went into the second-half with belief that they could get themselves back into the game and reduced the deficit within the opening 10 minutes of the half.

The Black Cat Ladies failed to deal with a swirling ball allowing Emily Joyce to head a looping ball into the net and give the Ewes a lifeline.

Derby continued to pile on the pressure with the hosts Goalkeeper Claudia Moan called into action a number of times and it took until the 73rd minute for the Ewes to get their reward.

Making her return to the club, Hamilton got her name on the scoresheet as she got the final touch to a block to steer the ball into the net to reduce the deficit.

Having got themselves a lifeline, Derby then failed to deal with a ball in their own box, allowing Ramshaw to add her second of the game, capitalising on hesitation to poke home for the hosts fifth of the afternoon.

Derby continued to pressurise the hosts with Jade Formaston chipping Moan in the Black Cats goal to again reduce the deficit to a single goal with 10 minutes of the game remaining.

Despite laying siege on the hosts goal, a combination of Goalkeeper Moan and resolute defending ensured the Black Cat Ladies came away with the three points in a 5-4 thriller.