A dominant Derby County Women couldn’t continue their three-game winning streak and were denied a first home win of the season at the Don Amott Arena as a late goal saw the points shared in a 1-1 draw against Halifax FC Women.
The result concludes an impressive period for the Ewes - with three high-scoring victories and strong performances on the road against Huddersfield Town, AFC Fylde and Northampton Town not able to be replicated on home turf.
Rebecca May’s thunderous strike, her third of the campaign, put the Ewes ahead, but they were made to rue missed opportunities when Eagles substitute Olivia Wilson placed the ball through multiple defender’s legs in the 90th minute to even the scoring.
A battling opening period saw few chances from either side; Derby registered the first real opportunity after 20 minutes when Millie Jenkins dispossessed her opposite number in the box and laid off to Megan Tinsley 18 yards out, who hit a dipping shot that was denied only by the crossbar.
Eleanor Ashton was looking for her sixth goal of the campaign and came close three minutes later, as her defence-splitting run forced goalkeeper Becky Flaherty from her line. The Ewes’ attacker struck low but couldn’t find the target.
Emelia Wilson came closest to opening Derby’s account just before the half-time whistle when she got a run on her defender down the left and shot from close range, but her attempt was skewed wide as the defender held strong.
The Ewes took the initiative after the break. Sims was able to tap in a cross from substitute Kira Rai’s cross – but the ball was deemed to have crossed the by-line before it was delivered.
It didn’t faze the home side, though, as May thundered the ball into the back of the net from the right. She turned beyond defender Lauryn Wilson, found space, and curled the ball past Flaherty.
The second half proved to be an injury-stricken affair, with Derby’s Rai being marshalled off after 65 minutes and Halifax’s Ellie White withdrawn only minutes later.
Anna Draper kept Derby in front in the 84th minute when Georgia Stevens found herself one-on-one, but the Derby shot-stopper made herself big and confidently smothered the ball.
Still looking to double her tally, May blasted the ball towards goal once again in the 88th minute, as she fed off the scraps of a shot by Sims, but a brave Shauna Legge blocked the strike with her head taking a harsh impact.
The visitors were the ones to reply, though, as Liv Wilson took control of the ball after a wayward corner and charged into the box, dispatching a low strike that flummoxed the Ewes' defence and found the back of the net.
Time was called on the fixture after over 20 minutes of stoppage time played when Halifax's Stevens went down with an injury that required medical attention. All at Derby County wish her a speedy recovery.
The Ewes return to action next weekend for the First Round of the Women’s FA Cup, where they travel to Lincoln City (2pm kick-off).
Derby County Women: Draper (GK); Sims (C), Tinsley, Steggles (Ward 80), Jackson, Jenkins (Rai 46, Rhodes-Andrews 70), Emelia Wilson (Sutherland 80), Joyce, May, Mosby, Ashton (Camwell 80).
Halifax Women: Flaherty (GK); Boydell, Legge (C), Kemp, Drew Greene (Oliver 37), Watson (Norde 69), White (Liv Wilson 77), Darcie Greene, Wilcock, Stevens, Willis (Cook 72).
Unused Substitutes: Bamforth.
Words: Alfie Dickin