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Derby County Women had to settle for a point in their thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Halifax FC on Sunday afternoon in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division, despite seeing forward Marli Rhodes-Andrews score a hat-trick.

Rhodes-Andrews opened the scoring on 13 minutes and doubled the Ewes’ advantage seconds before the break to give them a two-goal cushion at half-time.

Maddie Oliver pulled a goal back for Halifax on 59 minutes and Katie Ramsden completed the comeback for the visitors on 74 minutes.

The Eagles were not level for long as Rhodes-Andrews completed her hat-trick on 76 minutes, but Ellie White converted a penalty on two minutes later to bring the scores back level.

Derby pushed for a late winner at the Don Amott Arena but could not find the goal to give them all three points as they claimed their first draw of the campaign.

Key Moments

In wet and blustery conditions, the visitors had the first chances of the match inside the opening minutes.

Goalkeeper Sarah Morgan, standing-in as a result of the absence of number one Anna Draper, made two good saves to deny White.

Morgan then saved a low shot from Lucy Sowerby and those early saves proved crucial as the Ewes broke the deadlock.

After good work by Camille Jenkins down the left, Rhodes-Andrews hit a first-time strike into the roof the net leaving the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.

Eleanor Ashton’s audacious effort then came close to making it two a minute later before Jenkins curled a shot over from a good position.

Becky Flaherty then beat away club captain Hannah Ward’s drive as the Ewes looked to make their dominance pay.

A second goal duly arrived before the break as Rhodes-Andrews snuck in at the back post to convert a low Ward cross and round off an excellent team move.

Halifax were proving hard to break down in the second half as the Ewes maintained the majority of possession.

A stunning strike from substitute Oliver from the edge of the box halved the deficit and gave the visitors a route back into the match.

Halifax went on to equalise through a Ramsden shot in via the post, but the lead lasted a minute as Derby regained the lead with their next attack.

Rhodes-Andrews completed her hat-trick by getting on the end of Ashton’s cut-back inside the penalty area and keeping her cool to slot home.

However, the visitors would equalise again when Morgan committed a foul in the penalty area and White converted from the spot at the second time of asking. Her first effort was blazed over but the officials ruled encroachment had taken place and White made no mistake the second time around with a low finish.

Derby nearly re-gained the lead when substitute Kira Rai headed wide from close range while fellow substitute Isabel Sheridan had a chance to win it for the Ewes in the 96th minute but she could not get her shot away and Derby appealed that she had been fouled by the goalkeeper.

The referee though waved away strong appeals and the match ended in a share of the spoils.

Next up for Derby is an away fixture at Stoke City on Wednesday 13th March (7:45pm kick-off).

The Teams

Derby County Women: Morgan (GK), Sims (C), Steggles, Jackson, Wilson, Joyce, Ward, Jenkins, Ashton (Sheridan 90), Rhodes-Andrews (Meadows 83), O’Connor (Rai 66).

Substitutes Not Used: Shepherd.

Halifax FC Women: Flaherty (GK), Boydell (Wilcock 48), Legge, Dean, Greene, Ramsden, White, Greene, Sowerby, Walton (Sugden-Brooke 72), Stevens (Oliver 46).

Substitutes Not Used: Sugden-Brooke, Willis, Chan.

Words: Ciaran Morrison.

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