Derby County Women booked their spot in the Fourth Round of the Adobe Women’s FA Cup with an emphatic 5-1 victory at Chester Le Street Town Ladies on Sunday afternoon.
Sam Griffiths’ side were at their ruthless best as they saw off the challenge of the FA Women’s National League Division One North outfit with a professional display to cruise into the next round in wet, windy and boggy conditions.
Derby took the lead inside the opening three minutes through forward Yasmin Mosby and midfielder Becky May doubled their advantage with just five minutes played in what was a dream start.
Skipper Amy Sims hit a quickfire double either side of the half hour mark before Mosby added her second and the Ewes’ fifth before half-time.
The home side pulled a goal back in the second half through Laura Hockaday but it could not take the gloss off an impressive performance and, taking the now abandoned and to-be-replayed draw against Halifax out the equation, the Ewes have now recorded six successive wins in all competitions.
Derby will now wait with interest to see who they will face in the Fourth Round draw on Tuesday with Women’s Super League sides now entering the competition.
Fourth Round ties will take place on Sunday 14th January 2024.
Charlotte Steggles returned to the fold after injury while goalkeeper Sarah Morgan, forward Mosby and defender Maria Timms all started as Griffiths shuffled her pack and made four changes to the side from the 4-1 home win over Loughborough Lightning in the Second Round two weeks ago. There was also a place on the bench for Charlotte Duthie-Thompson from the Development Squad after some impressive displays at youth level this term.
Derby started brightly and took the lead with just three minutes on the clock. A loose ball fell to Mosby inside the penalty area, after Sims' shot from Eleanor Ashton's right-wing cross was blocked, and she took full advantage by slamming the ball into the roof of the net to get the Ewes off to a dream start. It was a sign of things to come in the opening 45 minutes.
It got even better for the Ewes with five minutes played as influential midfielder May scored another trademark long-range strike which flew into the roof of the net to strengthen their grip on the cup tie.
Mosby fired just wide from distance and also put the ball over from close range from another Ashton cross and Timms forced home goalkeeper Natalie Parker into a routine save as the Ewes poured forward, while at the other end the long-serving Morgan in the Derby goal was calm and assured as ever to marshal the defence and keep the hosts at bay as they pushed to find a way back into the tie.
But just as Chester Le Street began to find their feet, Derby hit them with a third goal just before the half-hour mark. Forward Ashton did well down the right-hand side once more and her cross was turned home by leading goalscorer Sims from close range.
Midfielder Emelia Wilson almost got in on the act as Parker denied her with a fine stop before Sims notched her second to make it 4-0. Sims, as ever, was in the right place at the right time to add the finishing touch after Parker spilled Steggles' left-wing cross.
It got even better for the Ewes before the half was out as Mosby doubled her tally for the afternoon following another scramble inside the Chester Le Street penalty area to make it 5-0 just ahead of the interval to put the side firmly in the driving seat. Wilson initially hit the post and had a shot blocked before Mosby forced the ball over the line.
Derby made a double change at the break with Club Captain Hannah Ward and midfielder Molly Sutherland replacing Sarah Jackson and May and they began the second period as they ended the first by enjoying plenty of possession and looking a real threat every time they advanced forward.
Further changes followed with Camille Jenkins and Marli Rhodes-Andrews entering the action in place of Timms and Wilson as Griffiths sought to spread the match minutes right across the squad.
Chester Le Street got themselves on the scoresheet midway through the second half to pull a goal back with Hockaday the goalscorer. Although Steggles thought she had cleared her header off the line following a corner, the goal was given by the officials.
Substitute Rhodes-Andrews almost got her name on the scoresheet when she burst clear on goal, but her strike was straight at Parker in the home goal, while youngster Duthie-Thompson came off the bench to make her senior bow with just under ten minutes to play in place of Ashton.
Jenkins was denied by Parker in the closing stages as she chased her first goal of the season and despite not finding the net in the second period, Derby’s clinical showing in the first half was more than enough to ensure they head into 2024 still competing in the FA Cup and National League Plate.
Griffiths’ side return to FA Women's National League Northern Premier Division action next Sunday against West Bromwich Albion at the Don Amott Arena in their final fixture of 2023 (2pm kick-off).
Derby County Women: Morgan (GK), Tinsley, Steggles, Jackson (Ward 46), Wilson (Rhodes-Andrews 65), Joyce, Mosby, Timms (Jenkins 65), Sims (C), May (Sutherland 46), Ashton (Duthie-Thompson 82).
Substitutes Not Used: Draper (GK).
Images: Stephen Batey