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Derby County Women bounced back from their midweek disappointment against Stoke City with an emphatic 4-0 victory at Huddersfield Town in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division on Sunday.

Forward Eleanor Ashton scored for the third game in a row to give the Ewes a 1-0 lead in the first half.

Skipper Amy Sims netted a brace in the second half while midfielder Rebecca May notched her first goal in the league since joining from Manchester United in September.

Last season’s meeting with the Terriers saw the Ewes take a point from the Stafflex Arena with a 3-3 draw, but the rout this time around demonstrated a vast improvement for Sam Griffiths’ side with a clean sheet and three points more than deserved.

Key Moments

Derby goalkeeper Anna Draper made a fine save in a one-on-one situation from Serena Fletcher early on and Ria Montgomery also fired wide from distance for the hosts, while down the other end club captain Hannah Ward headed wide from a corner.

The Ewes opened the scoring after 26 minutes. A perfectly timed through ball from May found the feet of Ashton down the right-hand side. The 18-year-old drove into the box and drilled a shot low across former Ewes goalkeeper Imogen Maguire to nestle to ball into the far left corner.

Derby went in search of a second before the break and Charlotte Steggles tried her luck from all of 30 yards out late in the half but Maguire was equal to her strike.

Derby went on to score three times in the second half to secure all three points in West Yorkshire.

Ward initiated Derby’s second goal five minutes into the second period with a delightful cross from the right-hand flank. Terriers goalkeeper Maguire came to collect the ball but fumbled it straight into the path of her former team-mate Sims and the captain made no mistake in punishing the error to double the side's lead.

Six minutes later, Derby netted their third. Substitute Marli Rhodes-Andrews delivered a corner into the box and, although the Huddersfield defence cleared the cross, it only fell as far as May. The midfielder showed great technique as she fired home a sumptuous strike from outside the area for her second goal in Derby colours after netting in the 5-0 thrashing of Doncaster Rovers Belles in the National Plate two weeks ago.

Derby were on the front foot for a majority of the match, with chances coming thick and fast as they looked to add to their tally. Ashton had a shot blocked by Caz Simone, while a header from Sims was denied by Maguire as the clock hit 79 minutes.

The Ewes’ captain finally bagged her second in the 90th minute after May swung a cross in from the left to find Sims, last season’s leading goalscorer, and she made no mistake.

The victory sees the Ewes take six points from three games inside eight days, following the 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest last Sunday and the 2-1 reverse against Stoke City on home turf on Wednesday. They climb to seventh in the table and are set to travel to the bottom of the league AFC Fylde next Sunday (2pm kick-off).

Derby County Women: Draper (GK), Sims (C), Tinsley, Steggles (Jenkins), Jackson, Wilson (Mosby), Joyce (Sutherland), Ward, Ashton (Camwell), Rai (Rhodes-Andrews), May.

Words: Hannah Walker

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