Ladies First Team vs. Derby County (4 : 0)

Sunday, 11 November, 2012 - 14:00
FAWPL Northern Division

Sheffield’s short trip south to Derby County proved a profitable one for the second season running, although this time the win was a little more clear-cut than the dying minutes 3-2 victory on the opening day of last season. With leading goal scorer Jodie Michalska not available for Sheffield, it was particularly satisfying not only to score four goals, but to see four different names on the score sheet.

A very heavy pitch that had been badly cut up by a match on it that morning provided a far from ideal surface and one which would make it hard for either team to play their normal game. However, the players put their frustrations to one side, rolled their sleeves up, and set about trying to make the best of things. Derby County started in positive mood and had the better of the opening five minutes, but Sheffield soon began to settle and apply pressure on the Rams’ goal, resulting in the visitors taking the lead after just seven minutes. A corner for Sheffield saw Carla Ward’s delivery cleared but Kerry Parkin collected and played wide for Kayleigh Mitchell, and the midfielder played a clever chipped ball into the box where Lisa Giampalma came from nowhere to volley it in from ten yards.

A perfect start for Sheffield although it still took another ten minutes or so for the team to really settle and start to control the match. Emma Johnson set up Sheffield’s next effort as she played a great reverse pass into the path of Suzanne Davies who was very well tackled just as she was about to shoot. A minute later, a long ball forward picked out Derby striker Cara Newton, and her pace took her beyond the Sheffield defence, but her shot was just over the crossbar. Derby moved the ball around well across their back four and into midfield, trying to work the ball to their rapid forwards and wide players, but Sheffield did extremely well to shut the door as soon as Derby got into the final third, breaking up Derby’s attacks before any threat on goal was created. The hosts also looked threatening from set pieces and Sheffield had to defend a number of Derby corners which they did very well.

Sheffield extended their lead on 27 minutes when a good move saw the ball played out wide to Giampalma who sent a perfect cross into the box, and Emma Johnson got between two defenders to volley the ball high into the back of the net from close range. Giampalma repeated the play five minutes later when Parkin played a great ball out to the winger, and her cross was taken off the head of Davies by a great defensive header from Sam Griffiths. A good cross field ball by the hosts resulted in their next chance as Hannah Ward found herself in space to the right of Sheffield’s goal, but her shot was skewed high and wide of the target from the edge of the box. At the other end, a good interception and quick pass by Mitchell found Giampalma in space to the right of the box, but her shot was lifted over the bar.

With the first half coming to a close, Derby fashioned their best chance of the half after a good move up the left resulted in Paige Crossman being allowed to get behind Sheffield and shoot from close range which drew a brilliant save from Sheffield goalkeeper, Claire Wallhead. The final chance of the half fell to the visitors when another superb diagonal ball was sprayed out wide by Mitchell and Giampalma’s effort narrowly cleared the bar.

The opening few minutes of the second saw Derby win an early corner which resulted in a low shot through a crowd of players, but Natalie Crofts was alert enough on the post to hack the ball away to safety. The match settled into a similar pattern to the first half, with both teams trying to play a controlled passing game on the tricky surface, but Derby struggling to break Sheffield down. The visitors’ first real chance of the half came when a Giampalma cross hung in the air and the keeper claimed just in front of the incoming Johnson on 61 minutes. Grace John had a long range effort for Derby which was collected safely in by Wallhead, before Sheffield’s next effort which saw Parkin wind up for a long range half-volleyed shot which flew wide of the target.

That was Parkin’s last action of the game as she was replaced by Leanne de Silva as Sheffield went in search of that all-important third goal, which came out of nothing. A good attacking move involving Davies and Gilliatt saw the ball worked to Carla Ward to the right of the goal and outside the box, and her shot took a big bobble right in front of the unfortunate Derby County keeper, Sarah Morgan, and found its way into the bottom corner for 3-0.

Sheffield made changes again with Cat Lawson and Shelly Futter replacing Mitchell and Crofts respectively, as Sheffield played out the remainder of the match determined to keep a clean sheet. There was more goal action to come though as, four minutes from time, a good forward run by Gilliatt saw her play in Suzanne Davies in the box who made room for herself before smashing a driven shot into the top corner. There was just time for one more effort on goal: Hannah Ward hitting a good shot which was well palmed over the bar by the solid Wallhead, preserving Sheffield’s clean sheet – their third of the season.


Players

Squad Player Goals
10 Carla Ward O more
6 Natalie Crofts
80
more
9 Lisa Giampalma O more
20 Emma Johnson O more
5 Melissa Cook more
11 Kerry Parkin
68
more
15 Suzanne Davies O more
17 Amy Turner more
8 Kayleigh Mitchell
77
more
13 Claire Wallhead more
7 Ellie Gilliatt more
Substitutes
Squad Player Goals
6 Catherine Lawson
77
more
20 Shelly Futter
80
more
14 Leanne de Silva
68
more