Team Derby’s Unbeaten Run Continues
Team Derby Women’s Football 1st beat the University of Nottingham 2nds 2-1 in a fierce East Midlands Derby cup battle.
Two first half strikes either side of a well-finished Nottingham equaliser did the damage in a well-matched encounter.
The result sees Derby progress to the next round at the expense of a Nottingham, who currently play in the division above.
In blustery conditions at the University of Derby Sports Centre it was the hosts who settled quickly, taking the lead inside five minutes.
A misplaced clearance from the away side’s goalkeeper was sharply pounced upon by wide player Holly Percival who finished first time into the unguarded net.
Boosted by the early advantage Derby sought to extend their lead. Neat work from Millie Elson created an opening for Holly Chalmers whose shot was well held, before the aforementioned Elson fired just over from distance.
Moments later the hosts again came close as Evie Garner curled narrowly wide from the edge of the area.
However as the first half progressed the away side grew stronger and came close to equalising when a strike from a narrow angle flew just wide, before levelling with half an hour gone.
An effort from Nottingham’s number five was expertly tipped onto the post by Faye Davies in the Derby goal, with the number 13 reacting quickest to put home the rebound.
But not to be disheartened by being drawn level Team Derby immediately regained the lead.
Goal scorer Percival turned provider as her cross was turned home by Alice Hall to restore the lead.
Into the second half the windy conditions increasingly impacted proceedings as Derby struggled to maintain their passing football and were limited to long range efforts.
The centre-half pairing of captain Emma Nightingale and Courtney Wakeham were continually subject to increasing attacking forays from the visitors, when they were rarely beaten, they had the sharp reflexes of Davies in goal as a trusty last line of defence.
With progression all but secured, it took a last ditch goal line clearance from full-back Emma Nightingale to ensure victory was to be Derby’s.
Speaking post match Percival emphasised the achievement to beat higher ranked opposition before boasting of the confidence gleaned from her early goal.
“I thought we played really well. We had a lot of nerves going into the game because Nottingham 2nds are in the league above us. We tried not to put too much pressure on ourselves, especially with it being a cup game.”
“Scoring first really set us up and got our confidence going. It either makes or breaks us sometimes; obviously in this situation is really made us, made us more confident and kept us pushing for the rest of the game.”
BY TOM SMITH
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BEN BOOTH