Derby County Women fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat away to Halifax FC on Sunday as Drew Greene’s first half strike was enough for the hosts to claim all three points in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division.

Eleanor Ashton had the chance to equalise for the Ewes just before the break but saw her penalty saved by Halifax goalkeeper Becky Flaherty.

On a tricky surface, the Ewes found it tough to create many clear-cut opportunities and Halifax held on for the victory.

Key Moments

Manager Sam Griffiths made two changes from the 1-1 draw at home to local rivals Nottingham Forest a fortnight ago with Helena Meadows and Kira Rai coming into the starting line-up in place of Hannah Ward and Dolcie O’Connor, who both reverted to the bench.

It was the hosts who started well, with a succession of corners and goalkeeper Sarah Morgan had to make a good block to stop a close-range effort.

Ashton came close to opening the scoring when her low strike flashed across goal and just wide of the post.

Derby were starting to get to grips with the pitch, but the hosts forced Morgan to make an excellent save to deny Isobel Dean before Greene struck low to give the Eagles the lead.

The Ewes kept probing but could not force home goalkeeper Flaherty into any saves.

Morgan again was required to stop Halifax scoring as first half substitute Georgia Stevens ran through on goal but saw her shot well saved.

Flaherty did have to save low to deny Amy Sims after the captain did well to hold off a defender and get a shot away outside the penalty area.

The Ewes did have the chance to equalise on the stroke of half-time when Ashton drove into the penalty box and was brought down by a defender.

Ashton stepped up to take the penalty she won but saw Flaherty dive to her left to push the effort away.

The cutting edge was again lacking for the Ewes in the second half as they struggled to break through a resolute Halifax outfit.

Rebecca May’s free kick from a dangerous position struck the wall before her long-range effort bounced just wide of a post.

Derby continued to search for an equaliser and substitute Isabel Sherdian’s close range header was the closest they came as Flaherty tipped the effort behind.

That proved to be the final chance for the Ewes as they were left with nothing to show for their efforts with the hosts claiming the win.

The Teams

Halifax FC: Flaherty (GK), Boydell (Willis 63), Legge (C), Whitham, Dean, Drew Greene (Walton 72), Darcie Greene, Sowerby, Armson (Stevens 37), John, Oliver.

Substitutes Not Used: White, Watson.

Derby County: Morgan (GK), Jenkins, Steggles, Jackson, Meadows, Wilson (O’Connor 68), Joyce, May, Sims (C), Rai (Rhodes-Andrews 68), Ashton (Sheridan 68)

Substitutes Not Used: Ward, Shepherd.

What’s Next?

The Ewes’ next outing will be in a week’s time when they take on Cambridge United Women in the Final of the National League Plate at FC United of Manchester’s Broadhurst Park (2pm kick-off), while their next league outing will see them head to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday 24th April (7:45pm kick-off).

Words: Ciaran Morrison.