Derby County Women came from behind to secure their first home win of the season as they beat Loughborough Lightning 4-1 in the Second Round of the Women’s FA Cup on Sunday.
Amy Sims and Rebecca May found themselves on the scoresheet once again alongside Eleanor Ashton, who bagged two, for the Ewes to help secure their spot in the Third Round.
Loughborough are a league below Derby and were in good form going into the game, having not lost since September, but Sam Griffiths' side avoided a cup upset with a clinical display.
Both sides produced energetic performances in the first half, though the visitors were the fastest to find the back of the net. Ferne Powell’s pinpoint cross found Lauren Purchase, who put her side into the lead eight minutes in at the far post.
Derby thought they’d equalised through Sims after Camille Jenkins headed the ball forward to the Ewes' skipper, who fired across the goalkeeper to nestle the ball into the bottom left corner. However, the goal was disallowed after the number two was deemed offside.
Sims came close to levelling the scoreline once more as the clock hit 32 minutes. Ashton’s cross from the right found the 24-year-old whose half-volley rattled the crossbar.
Griffiths’ side created a handful of chances in the first 45 minutes. Ashton asked questions of the goalkeeper with a long-range effort, and Club Captain Hannah Ward whistled a shot over the bar not long after.
But the Ewes finally found their equaliser in the 43rd minute as Sims played a tremendous through ball to Ashton. The winger drove into the box and hit a right-footed shot into the bottom left corner.
Loughborough were inches away from regaining the lead just before the half-time whistle. Powell’s fast feet beat Ward and pulled the ball back to Zynia Delglyn. The Lightning number 19 struck the ball well but was denied by the post as the sides went into the break with a goal apiece.
Derby came out firing in the second half, making it 2-1 just two minutes in. Sims bagged her 11th goal so far this season after meeting May’s corner and tapping the ball home at the near post.
Ashton scored her second of the game 26 minutes later. The number 11 did well to squeeze her shot past two defenders and the goalkeeper as she drilled it into the bottom right corner to put her side 3-1 up after being set up by Emelia Wilson.
The winger is dual signed with Manchester United this season and knows what it takes to be successful in this highly regarded cup - she won the FA Youth Cup with the Reds while in their Academy.
May, who also played for United last season, scored Derby’s fourth with a marvellous left-footed free-kick from distance that curved into the back of the Loughborough net.
Since signing this summer, the midfielder has made quite the habit of scoring impressive goals, having netted five times for the Ewes.
Derby County Women return to league action next Sunday as they host Burnley Women at the Don Amott Arena (2pm).
Derby County Women: Draper (GK); Sims (C), Tinsley, Jackson, Rhodes-Andrews (Mosby 75), Wilson, Joyce (Sutherland 85), Ward (Timms 85), Ashton, Jenkins, May.
Unused Substitutes: Morgan (GK), Hilliard.
Loughborough Lightning Women: Grimmond (GK), Hewitt, Hateley, Hines (C), Plumb, Powell, Purchase (Cwetvowa 68), Delglyn (Arber 73), Woodbyrne, Landford, Collyer (Coutts 92).
Unused Substitutes: Sharpe, Jacobs, Filipiak, Alexander.
Words: Hannah Walker.