Derby County Women cruised into the Third Round of the Adobe Women’s FA Cup with a 4-1 home win over Loughborough Lightning on Sunday afternoon.
Despite falling a goal behind to the FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands leaders early on, through Lauren Purchase’s close-range finish, Sam Griffiths’ side stormed back to run out comfortable victors in the Second Round tie.
Forward Eleanor Ashton equalised with a composed finish ahead of half-time, before the Ewes went on to take control at the Don Amott Arena in the second period.
Skipper Amy Sims bundled the ball home from a corner to put Derby ahead before Ashton added her second with a thunderous strike.
Midfielder Rebecca May rounded off the scoring late on with a trademark long-range strike, this time from a free-kick.
After finally getting their first home win of the season on the board, Derby return to FA Women's National League Northern Premier Division action at the Don Amott Arena on Sunday 3rd December when they host league leaders Burnley in their penultimate league fixture of 2023 (2pm kick-off).
“I'm Happy Because This Wasn't An Easy Game” - Griffiths
Manager Sam Griffiths was delighted with her side’s second half showing as they took control of the tie to comfortably avoid a cup upset.
Loughborough, who are gunning for promotion from Tier 4, provided a tough test for the Ewes but Griffiths was particularly pleased with how the players put their opponents to the sword after half-time.
She said: “I’m really happy because it wasn’t an easy game. We were disappointed to concede in the first half and go behind early on in what was a tough match against a good Loughborough side.
“The reaction was excellent and it was important to get level before half-time. The girls did enough to win it and, after tweaking a few things at half-time, we were excellent in the second half. The way we started the second half really set the tone.”
She added: “Everyone was great right across the pitch; the girls were superb and I can’t fault anyone.”
Forward Eleanor Ashton felt the Ewes’ fighting spirit came to the fore as they ran out convincing winners.
After falling behind in the first half against a side picking up excellent results in their own division, Derby stormed back to book their spot in the Third Round of the competition.
Ashton played a key role with two well-taken finishes and she said: “I thought we did really well and showed our fighting spirit to come from a goal behind.
“We knew if we came out in the second half and played how we wanted to, we’d give ourselves a great chance to get the win.”
Looking ahead to the Third Round draw, Ashton added: “We’ll give one hundred per cent whoever we come up against and fight to get through again.”