Derby County Women recorded their first win of the 2023/24 FA Women's National League Northern Premier Division season in impressive fashion with a 7-1 success on the road at Stourbridge.
Sam Griffiths’ side went into the game with three losses in a row in all competitions to their name, but they showed no sign of a lack of confidence as they stormed back from a goal down at the break to claim all three points with a stunning second half showing.
Niamh Deasy’s goal just after the quarter-hour mark had the home side in front early on, but Derby hit back after the interval through Charlotte Steggles to deservedly get back onto level terms.
A quickfire double from Maria Timms and skipper Amy Sims soon afterwards put the Ewes firmly in control at the midway point of the second half.
Sims added another before substitute Eleanor Ashton, who netted twice, and Emelia Wilson rounded off an excellent afternoon’s work late on.
Griffiths shuffled her pack from last weekend’s 3-2 loss at Liverpool Feds with defender Timms and winger Kira Rai coming into the side in place of Jess Camwell and Ashton, who both reverted to the bench, for their first league starts this term.
An even start to the game produced little in terms of chances at either end with Derby having the best attacking moment of the early exchanges. Rai, who had been played in on goal, was denied by Jamie-Lee Bamford in the home goal inside the box as she looked to take the ball around the goalkeeper, who displayed quick reactions to repel the danger.
Stourbridge, with their first real opportunity of the match,
took the lead after 17 minutes. Favour Omenazu got away down the down the
right-hand side to cross low in the box and, after the ball was helped on by
Amber Lawrence, Deasy was on hand to find the net at the far post.
Wilson and Yasmin Mosby failed to find the target with efforts as Derby looked to get back level quickly, while Jess Lowe and Kelsey Richardson tested Anna Draper in the Ewes goal with long-range efforts that she was able to gather comfortably before the half was out.
Ashton came on for Molly Sutherland at the break and Derby began the second half on the front foot. It was a sign of things to come over the course of the next 45 minutes.
After a strong spell of pressure just before the hour, the side’s perseverance was rewarded. A corner wasn’t cleared sufficiently by the hosts and Rai’s ball back into the box was headed home from close range by Steggles for her first goal of the season since joining from Nottingham Forest in July.
Derby went on to take the lead after 66 minutes with Timms, another of the summer signings, also netting her first goal for the club since arriving from West Bromwich Albion. A lobbed finish from the edge of the box by defender, which went in off the post, rounded off a sustained period of pressure after the home side again failed to clear the danger.
The Ewes’ third goal came almost immediately to strengthen their grip on the contest even more going into the final 20 minutes. Sims took advantage of some slack defending by the home side to keep her cool and slot the ball into the back of the net for her second goal of the campaign and her first in the league this term.
The Derby skipper went on to get her second and the side’s fourth goal with 15 minutes remaining. This time a ball into the box from the right from Ashton was met with a volleyed effort from last season’s leading goalscorer which flew into the net.
Griffiths’ side weren’t done there and with ten minutes remaining Ashton, who linked up with the Ewes on a dual-registration from Manchester United in the close-season, latched onto a pass forward by Sims and stroked the ball home after out-witting the goalkeeper for her first goal of the season.
Midfielder Wilson also scored her first of the campaign with the clock ticking down to add further gloss on a superb away day as her low shot squeezed its way beyond Bamford in the home goal.
Ashton went on to round off the scoring in added time with a strike from just inside the box to conclude a fine afternoon.
Derby could have had more with Sims going close to completing her hat-trick, but the seven-goal haul in the second period proved to be more than enough to kick-start the Ewes’ season in style.
Stourbridge Women: Bamford (GK), Harrison (Da’Casto), Clarke, Heaselgrave (Fishwick), Embley, Lowe, Omenazu (Murphy), Richardson, Nicklin (Bate), Lawrence (C), Deasy (Robinson).
Substitutes Not Used: N/A
Derby County Women: Draper (GK), Sims (C), Tinsley, Steggles (Ward), Timms, Sutherland (Ashton), Jackson, Wilson, Joyce, Mosby (Camwell), Rai (Jenkins)
Substitutes Not Used: Morgan (GK).
The Ewes will return to FA Women's National League Northern Premier Division action on Sunday 17th September when they host promotion favourites Newcastle United at the Dom Amott Arena (2pm kick-off).