Derby County Football Club Women

Solid Foundation to Push Forward says ‘Proud’ U13’s Coach

Derby County Ladies Under 13’s Head Coach Matt Wheatcroft believes his young side’s development will be very exciting to follow after Semi-Final Cup Success.

The Academy side have had an impressive season and continued their development with a 2-0 win against Duffield Dynamoes Under 13’s that sent them through to the U14’s Cup Final and Coach Wheatcroft expressed how proud he was of their achievement.

Wheatcroft said “We knew in order to beat a very good physical Duffield team we had to be at our best from the off and we made it clear to all the players we had to win the one on one battles all over the pitch and help each other at all times.

“We played a training match on the Tuesday against a very good and able team within the academy and it was honestly the best I have seen us play as a team and I knew at that point we was more than ready for Saturday and I was quietly confident about the match.

“When the girls arrived it was clear to them it was just another game and they where chilled out and clearly up for it from the off and started like we finished the game Tuesday night.

“They never let the opposition settle for the entire 70 minutes of the game and the intensity was amazing and we always looked in control of the game and thwarted the threat of the opposition.”

With the whistle blown the match got off to a somewhat frantic start, neither side willing to give way to the opposition, but on 10 mins the first real chance fell to Derby when Liv put Charlie through one on one with the keeper only to see her effort well saved. And Duffield were quick to respond with a fast break and a sharp shot from the edge of the Derby area, but Harriet was alert to the threat and produced a great reaction save to keep the scores level.

The breakthrough came on 20 minutes when a Derby corner was floated deep into the area and pin balled out to Stacey who somehow managed to stab it into the Duffield net to give Derby the lead.

The game was proving very physical, both sides resolute but Duffield showing their age advantage with some very stout challenges in all areas of the pitch. Derby, however, showed resilience and spirit to cancel out the oppositions physicality and pressed forward with increasing regularity.

Derby were starting to unpick the lock and when Charlie nodded the ball through to Liv on 27 mins she had only the keeper to beat but skewed wide of the post to the relief of the Duffield supporters. Four minutes later Liv was through again but this time was brought down inside the area just as the trigger was about to be pulled, a superbly timed last ditch tackle by the Duffield right back.

The teams went into half time with Derby holding a slim 1:0 advantage, Derby certainly looked rock solid at the back and pressed the ball at every opportunity in the second half. Duffield continued to close down all Derby possession and make clear chances difficult to execute, typified when Lucy threaded a killer pass through to Stacey who was instantly smothered by the oppositions defence to snuff out the threat.

Derby extended their lead when a Duffield break was intercepted and the ball slid quickly back through Liv on the edge of the Duffield area, she turned and rifled an instinctive shot into the bottom left hand corner, giving the keeper no chance.

Both sides pressed right to the final whistle, but Derby’s attitude and application earned them a deserved victory over an impressive Duffield side.

Wheatcroft continued “Duffield are a fantastic team and they have some very good players, but we matched them one on one and we played brilliantly as a team to keep in control of the game.

“I have to say this game was one of my proudest moments as a coach watching a team go out and play with little instruction from the coaching team.

“All we had to do was encourage and show our support and it was a pleasure to watch. Our only job was to look for tired legs and make changes to give a breather at the right times. This gives us a solid foundation now to push this team forward and further advance their style of play and tactical awareness.

“It’s clear we have the right attitude and intensity in this team, so the next development for the team and individual players is going to be very exciting and it will be a pleasure to see how far this group of players can go in the game and work DCLFC.”

Adding to the Under 13’s Semi-Final Success, Academy Director Dave Cholertin said “It’s fantastic to see the development of the Under 13’s this season and there’s no doubt that playing quality opposition like Duffield and other teams will bring on all players across Derbyshire.

“Last season we made the decision to put them in a boys league and it helped to bring on their development and this year we felt the best option was to go back to girls football but playing up a year in the Under 14’s to aid their game.

“Since we started our Development Days, we have always encouraged and linked up with local clubs for players to come into various teams and we will once again be doing that this season.

“Hopefully there will be longevity with players coming through to Derby County Ladies and other local teams and build women’s football to be a sustainable option for the future.”