Derby County Women got their hands on the FA Women’s National League Plate for the first time in their history with a 3-0 win over Cambridge United Women in the Final on Sunday.

Forward Eleanor Ashton opened the scoring just after the hour mark from the penalty spot before skipper Amy Sims doubled the advantage just before the break.

Midfielder Emily Joyce rounded off the scoring in the dying stages with a stunning effort from distance to ensure Sam Griffiths’ side were crowned of the winners of the competition.

The Ewes will return to action in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division on Wednesday when they head to the West Midlands to face Wolverhampton Wanderers at the New Bucks Head (7:45pm kick-off).

They will then return to the Don Amott Arena to face Liverpool Feds on Sunday 28th April (2pm kick-off) in their final home fixture of the season.

“I Am So Proud!” - Griffiths

Manager Sam Griffiths emotionally described herself as ‘proud’ of her side.

The Ewes’ victory saw Griffiths win silverware for the first time in charge of the Ewes and she felt they were full value for their win over a resilient Cambridge outfit.

Griffiths was pleased to see the team’s impressive run in the Plate this term result in them getting their hands on the trophy for the first time.

Now, though, she says it must be something the Ewes build on moving forward as they look to continue to progress both on and off the field.

She said: “It feels great, what a day! I am so proud of the girls.

“It has been a long season, with ups and downs and we have perhaps underachieved in the league, so to see the players rewarded with this is really nice.

“It is massive for us to win some silverware. We wanted to be in the League Cup, ideally, but we were in the Plate this year and it was important for this group to win something.

“We wanted to win the Plate and we’ve played some good teams along the way. I am proud of the girls as we’ve won the competition, which is the most important thing.

“We want to build on this now and it is important the girls get a feel of what it is like to win something. I hope it gives us some more hunger for next year for what we want to achieve.”

On the side’s performance, she added: “We were in control with the majority of the game and we arguably should have scored more goals in the first half.

“Cambridge came after us a bit more in the second half and credit to them for that.”

From The Dressing Room

Captain Amy Sims was understandably delighted to lead the side to victory and win her first trophy as a senior player.

Sims stated the Ewes’ desire to win the 2023/24 National League Plate as soon as they knew they would be competing in the competition.

To see that dream become reality was a moment she was eager to savour at the final whistle.

Sims, Derby's leading goalscorer this season, said: “We had expectation to win this but to go on and do it is something else.

“To get three goals and keep a clean sheet is great; you can’t ask for any more.

“We will enjoy the moment because everyone involved works so hard to have days like this.”

She added: “I’ve not won anything on a team basis since my Academy days so to win something here with Derby is incredible.”

Emily Joyce picked the perfect moment to score her first goal of the campaign to round off the scoring late on.

Despite rounding off the scoring in stunning fashion, Joyce was eager to cast the spotlight in the direction of manager Sam Griffiths.

Joyce said: “I’m so happy and proud of all the girls that we’ve won this competition.

“To do it for Sam, as our manager, is really nice.

“Myself and Simsy have been working with her right the way back to playing at youth level and to see her lift some silverware is pleasing.”

Club Captain Hannah Ward described winning silverware with the Ewes as a ‘standout moment’ in her career.

The long-serving defender hit the 300 appearances milestone in Derby colours earlier this season and was understandably elated to mark the campaign in style by lifting a trophy.

Ward, who was appointed as a club ambassador at the start of the campaign, also heaped praise on the spirit of the squad and coaching staff to make the achievement even sweeter.

She said: “In your career there aren’t too many cup finals to enjoy so to get here and win is a standout moment.

“We have a great group of girls and that is so important. Winning the trophy is one thing, but it is who you do it with that really matters and with these players and the coaching staff we have a great group.”

She added: “To have played alongside Sam Griffiths and Jenny Simpson as players and now have them on the staff leading us to this is really special for me.”

Player of the Match Emelia Wilson was quick to highlight the potential of the Ewes’ squad after getting their hands on the National League Plate for the first time.

While the midfielder admitted there’s room for improvement following what has been an up and down league campaign, having success in a cup competition has been something to savour.

She said: “Until now I hadn’t won anything with Derby, so it is a nice feeling to have won some silverware with this team.

“I think it is something we all deserve for the hard work put in by everyone.

“I love these girls to pieces; they aren’t just my team-mates but also my best friends as well.”

She added: “We feel the league season has been a bit disappointing, but winning this shows what the group is capable of.”