Derby County Women went down 3-2 at Liverpool Feds in their first away fixture of the 2023/24 season on Sunday.
Sam Griffiths’ side led at the break courtesy of an own goal from Yasmin Mosby’s corner but an action-packed second half saw them fall to defeat.
Bethy Donoghue and Rose Kinvig-Wardale’s quickfire double saw the game quickly turned on its head before Charlotte Steggles’ penalty was saved by Rachel Darbyshire just before the hour as a chance to equalise passed the Ewes by.
Another own goal saw Derby level just after the midway point of the second half from Kira Rai's cross before Katie Anderson scored what turned out to be the winner with just over ten minutes left.
Derby started on the front foot at Jericho Lane Sports Hub but chances in the early exchanges failed to materialise for either side.
The first opportunity of the contest came after 15 minutes - and it fell Derby’s way. Mosby, fresh from scoring her first goal in a black and white shirt in last weekend’s League Cup defeat against West Bromwich Albion, set up fellow summer signing Elanor Ashton but her effort flashed wide of the post.
The pressure continued and Derby eventually took the lead on the half hour mark. Mosby whipped an inviting delivery into the box from a corner and the ball was diverted into the back of the net by a Liverpool Feds player to open the scoring.
Another chance came Derby’s way soon afterwards from another set play by Steggles couldn’t direct her header on target from Sarah Jackson’s ball into the box.
The hosts applied some pressure late in the half as they pushed to get back on level terms, but the Ewes held firm defensively to go in a goal to the good at the interval.
They weren’t ahead for long though at the start of the second half though as Liverpool Feds shot out of the traps and they equalised within seconds of the restart. Donoghue advanced in on goal and, after rounding Anna Draper, she rolled the ball into the back of the net.
A few minutes later, the Ewes were behind. A quick free kick put them on the back foot and Kinvig-Wardale was on hand to slot home after the ball was cut back into her path.
Derby had a golden chance to level shortly afterwards after Mosby was fouled in the box but Steggles’ penalty was saved by home goalkeeper Darbyshire, who threw herself at the ball and managed to push it behind for a corner.
After Mosby headed wide and skipper Amy Sims had a goal ruled out for the offside, Derby eventually got themselves back onto level terms with just under 20 minutes left to play. Substitute Rai got away down the left on a swift counterattack and delivered a cross into the area which was turned into her own goal by a home defender.
Griffiths’ side weren’t level for long, though, and Anderson restored the hosts' lead ahead of the final ten minutes in what was an end-to-end contest.
Derby went in search of yet another equaliser as the clock ticked down and substitute Hannah Ward, making her comeback from a hamstring injury, fired over with their last opportunity.
Liverpool Feds Women: Darbyshire (GK), Pope (Richardson 88), Johnson, Kinvig-Wardale, Jukes (Parry 75), Seagraves, Anderson, Thompson (C), Cole (Thomas 79), Fletcher, Donoghue.
Substitutes Not Used: Douglas, Viagas.
Derby County Women: Draper (GK), Sims (C), Tinsley, Steggles, Jackson, Wilson, Joyce, Mosby, Ashton, Camwell (Ward 66), Sutherland (Rai 68).
Substitutes Not Used: Maguire (GK), Timms.
The Ewes will return to FA Women's National League Northern Premier Division action on Sunday 10th September when they head to Stourbridge in the second of back-to-back away games (2pm kick-off).