Derby County Football Club Women

Under 13’s Black Socks

Under 13’s Black Socks Match Report

Heanor Town Lionesses U14s 1 – 1 Derby County Ladies Under 13 Black Socks

Derby Girls and Ladies U14 League

12th September 2020

Following a truncated, but successful, season in the DJFL, the Black Socks made their return to the Derbyshire Girls and Ladies League this Saturday. Similar to when they won the league in 2018/19, they are playing up an age-group, this time testing themselves in the U14 division and moving to 11 a side football.

The girls couldn’t have been given a tougher opening fixture than against Heanor Lionesses who had a 100% record last season in this league before it was cut short by the pandemic. But what a curtain raiser it was, with both teams battling hard for the win and playing some fantastic football.

Heanor had the early possession but were unable to apply any pressure on Rhianna’s goal. Derby started with a back three of EJ, Skye and Courtney, with Belle and Emma operating as wing backs. Despite this being a new formation, the girls adapted to it well and made several strong challenges to keep the Lionesses away from goal.

The first real opportunity was created by Derby. The ball was played down the left and collected by Hollie, after a short run she unleashed a shot which the keeper tipped wide for a corner. The corner was lofted into the box and the keeper collected comfortably. The Heanor keeper had excellent handling throughout the game and collected well on our corners.

Heanor’s No9 did well down their left and broke into the box. She dropped her shoulder and knocked the ball past the outside of Courtney, having looked like she was going to cut-inside, but she lifted her shot wide of the far post.

The defenders were having to work hard, particularly Emma and Belle, because Heanor played a number of balls into the wide channels for their wingers to run on to. But neither of our wingbacks are lacking in pace and they tracked the runs and limited the options for crosses into our box.

Derby cleared a ball up to the halfway line, where Abi was isolated against a couple of defenders. She flicked the ball behind her with her head and spun in behind the defence. She was closed down as she got to the edge of the box and couldn’t get the ball on her right, so she shot left footed and it went wide of the post.

Jasmine and Honor were busy in the middle of the park, closing the ball and then trying to set the attackers free. They didn’t give the Heanor midfield time to dwell on the ball and pick a pass. Macie played with her usual intelligence and calm and every time she was on the ball she was looking for a pass to break through the Heanor defensive line.

Derby almost took the lead halfway through the first period. Hollie did some great work down the left and produced a fantastic cross. Abi had broken into the box, but she was just unable to connect with the cross in front of goal, for what would have been a certain goal.

Although Heanor had similar possession to Derby, the Lionesses’ keeper was busier in the first half. Hollie had the ball on the edge of the box with her back to goal. She rolled it to Emma who hit it crossfield to Belle on the opposite flank. She broke in the box but was wide of goal and her cross come shot was collected well by the keeper.

Rhianna was tested with the next Heanor attack. They played the ball through the middle and although the defence cleared the initial attack it broke on the edge of the box to a Heanor forward. Rhianna was well positioned to deal with the shot from distance and collected it comfortably into her midriff.

Skye and EJ made a number of fantastic tackles in defence to keep Heanor’s forwards out of our box, and Courtney’s strength made sure that they had an uncomfortable morning being unable to settle on the ball. Every girl was working hard and also taking onboard the training they have had this week with everyone making headers when required.

All of the team from last season, bar one player, has remained, but the move to 11v11 has left us short of numbers for seventy-minute matches. This week we signed a new player, Lily. She came on part way through the first half and couldn’t have had a better impact. The Black Socks had a throw down the right which was taken by Belle. The ball was collected on the far edge of the box and then switched to the left-hand side where it broke to Lily who smashed it past the keeper from fifteen yards. As first touches in a Derby shirt go – it was pretty special.  

Heanor continued to press for the remainder of the first-half but were unable to find an opening. Skye made a fantastic challenge to prevent a run on goal just before the interval, and Derby went into the break ahead.

Heanor started the second half stronger and a there was a brilliant cross from the right, which was begging to be turned in but the forward lifted it over the bar.

Derby came close to doubling their lead when Hollie made a good run down the left and then tried to play in Abi who was central. The ball ran across the box, forcing Abi wide but she played the ball back across the goal, just a yard out but Hollie couldn’t get there in time and eventually it went behind for a goalkick.

Hollie then stung the fingertips of the Heanor keeper. Macie moved into an attacking midfield position and held her pass before releasing Hollie on the left. She hit a great shot which was going in the top corner, but the keeper did well to tip it round the post for a corner. Hollie took the set-piece low into the box. It was half cleared to Abi on the edge of the penalty area and she hit a first-time half volley which flew just wide of the far post.

Liv came on to replace Abi upfront and she continued to work the defenders making sure that they didn’t have a comfortable moment on the ball. Lily was moved into midfield and she was always looking for an intelligent, creative pass forward. Supported by Honor and Jasmine who didn’t stop running all game.

Emma, who had been completely dominant at the back, played an excellent ball over the top for Hollie to run on to. She got to the ball first, held off the defender but poked her shot just wide under severe pressure.

Heanor tried the ball in behind down the right flank and it looked like their number seven had gotten in to a good crossing position, but Belle made an excellent recovering challenge to block the cross behind for a corner. Unfortunately the set-piece in to box wasn’t dealt with and Heanor were able to poke a loose ball inside the near post to level the score.

The Black Socks were starting to tire as the game wore on. Due to a limited sized squad and Viktoria being away we only had two substitutes on a big pitch and it started to tell in the final minutes. In addition, Hollie, who fell awkwardly early in the first half, had to go off injured. She had played on as long as she could but eventually was in too much discomfort to continue.

In the final minutes Skye made a great last player challenge to stop an almost certain goal. The team had now switched to a back four and both Skye and EJ were solid throughout the match producing a commanding defensive display. Rhianna did well playing as sweeper keeper and always offering an option to her defenders to play the ball to if they needed to go backwards.

Courtney had now moved upfront to partner Abi. She did really well to hold off a challenge from the Heanor defender and slip the ball inside to our number seven. Abi had to shoot early and the ball went wide of the goal.

Both teams continued to push for a winner, but ultimately a draw was a fair result. After the game, new Head Coach Nathan Stevens said “I was really proud of the girls. They took the change in system well. They got through a sticky ten minutes in the second half after the equaliser but re-imposed themselves on the game. We’ve had some injuries during pre-season, so it was great to have EJ and Liv come through the game without incident and an excellent debut goal from Lily.”

It was a fantastic advert for the girls’ game, played in the right spirit with the right intensity throughout the seventy minutes. Every coach and parent who watched it will be thrilled about what their girls can achieve this season – whichever team they were supporting.


  • Lily