• Will Furness

REPORT/HIGHLIGHTS: Ewe Rams prove too strong for West Brom

Derby County Women made it two wins a row as they defeated in-form West Bromwich Albion Ladies 4-2 in the FA National League Northern Division.

A Jodie Michalska strike and a Keeley Davies own goal sent the Ewe Rams into half-time with a comfortable 2-0 lead. Hannah Keryakoplis then made the score 3-0 five minutes into the second half, and the game in complete control for Derby.

However, two stunning strikes within a couple minutes for the Baggies blasted the game back open – before Katie Anderson’s first ever goal in a Ewe Rams shirt meant that Derby took control again to win 4-2.

Derby began well, Keryakoplis unable to finish when put through one-on-one just three minutes in.

The Ewe Rams finally got the just reward for their dominance in the 25th minute. Sarah Jackson’s long searching ball found the lively Sophie Domingo. Laying off to skipper Amy Sims, her teasing low cross deflected off Keryakoplis and fell into the path of Michalska, who smashed the ball home to give Derby a deserved lead.

The encounter than slowed down, but it burst into life five minutes before half-time. The Baggies’ back-line once again gave the ball away and Anderson found a pocket of space. She got a curling shot away that was well saved.

From the resulting corner, Jade Formanston climbed the highest but her header cannoned off the crossbar to safety.

Derby doubled their lead just before half-time and got their deserved cushion after an impressive first 45 minutes. A dangerous free-kick was whipped in and Davies could only head the cross into her own net to give the Ewe Rams a 2-0 lead heading into the break.

The Baggies opted for a double substitution at half-time to try and change their fortunes in the second half, and with the ultimate goal of overturning the two-goal deficit.

This didn’t quite go to plan, as Derby continued where they left off in the 50th minute.

Domingo broke with the ball down the centre, running direct at West Brom defence. She opted to lay it off to Keryakoplis who took one touch and then slotted home to give the Ewe Rams a comfortable 3-0 lead.

However, similar to last Thursday, Derby couldn’t hold for the clean sheet as West Brom brought the game back to 3-1 within a couple of minutes. Dugmore plucked a wonderful shot from 25-yards that nestled into the top corner to ignite the game once again.

This seemed to completely switch the momentum of the affair, and West Brom started to impose on the Derby goal and the Baggies’ pulled the game back to 3-2 in the 61st minute – through another brilliant long-distance strike. This time it was substitute Nymeon who struck past Charlotte Clarke.

This blew the game wide open. The momentum was completely with West Brom and this last 30 minutes was going to be a massive test for Derby’s steel.

Despite the Baggies feeling themselves into the game, the Ewe Rams struck again in the 67th minute to all but kill off any further comeback from the visitors.

Domingo, who was a threat all game, closed down the West Brom backline to block the clearance. The in-form winger then slipped in Anderson, who rounded the keeper and slotted into an open net to score her first goal in Derby colours

The relief was apparent, and it gave Derby some much-needed breathing space with just over 20 minutes left. The hosts then gained control of the game again as they went searching for more goals.

In the 70th minute Domingo yet again ran at the heart of the Baggies’ defence, and she pulled it back to Keryakoplis whose first time shot was blasted over.

The roles were quickly switched and this time Domingo was set free with only the keeper to beat. The West Brom defenders were chasing, and they made it awkward enough to make sure she put the shot wide.

Despite huffing and puffing from both sides, the game petered out into a deserving 4-2 win for the Ewe Rams to make it two wins on the bounce.

They were well worth their victory against a side that were table toppers before this afternoon’s events.

The Ewe Rams now look to an away trip against Sheffield F.C where they will attempt to continue this new-found momentum.

By Will Furness