Back-to-back wins for Pride Park as Mercia are beaten
Pride Park secured back-to-back wins with a 2-0 victory over Mercia at Moorways on Wednesday night.
Park kicked off into the sun and after a fairly even first ten minutes, with the two teams weighing each other up, the hosts had the first sight of goal, but Annie Laight’s shot didn’t trouble the goalkeeper. Mercia responded, but their first shot was also off target.
Laight had another chance, though a difficult one - the ball coming in from the right at knee height and her first time left foot effort under pressure from a defender was saved by the 'keeper.
Park lost Amy Snape injured 25 minutes in, then Beth Jones' long range shot was off target.
As the half-hour approached, good build up play down the left culminated in a pass infield, helped on to Izzy Ely who found herself in space in front of goal a couple of strides outside the penalty area, but her shot cleared the crossbar.
Ely then went close again while Jade Howell had to save a Mercia effort in between.
Park finally got the lead on 35 minutes when Rachel Weaver drove into space and found Ely who controlled and fired past the keeper into the far corner for a half-time lead.
The second-half saw defender Sophie Ayton the next to be replaced due to injury before another chance fell to Laight whose lob drifted just wide.
Two minutes later and the second opportunity in this six minute spell brought another excellent move, and a second goal for Pride Park. Tash Allderidge found Hannah Kwiatek in space on the right, and she controlled the ball, looked up, and played a precise pass behind the Mercia defence for Jess Page to meet at the far post and finish from close range with her right foot.
Shortly after the restart the ball fell to Izzy Wilsoncroft from a half-clearance, and she hit it first time from distance but wasn’t able to keep the shot down and it cleared the crossbar.
Ely became the third injury retirement with just over 20 minutes to go but Park continued to prevent Mercia from creating any clear openings.
Further chances fell to Beth Thompson, Laight and Allderidge but although the third goal wouldn't come, it was a deserved and hard-fought win.
*Elsewhere in the Derbyshire Girls & Ladies League on Wednesday, a Hawkins hat-trick enabled Ilkeston Town Development to pick up their first point since the opening day of the season, ending a run of nine defeats in a surprise 3-3 draw at Belper Town.
In Division Two, Matlock Town came away with a clean sheet and three points from Shirebrook thanks to goals from Green and Wilby.