By ‘Boot Room’
Above: Pride Park’s Annie Laight (9) is foiled by a combination of the Colts ‘keeper and defender when the two sides met at Wirksworth in April 2021. Photo: Shaun Hardwick
This weekend, Pride Park host Wirksworth Colts in the Derbyshire Ladies League Division One at Moorways (Sunday, 1.30pm). Both teams have had reasonably stable squads in recent seasons but Wirksworth have strengthened since last season, signing several former SK Vipers players after the Buxton based team folded shortly before the start of this season.
The Colts have made a strong start to the season, keeping clean sheets in their first two games to secure a narrow win by the odd goal against Belper Town, and running riot with six against Mickleover. Although their winning start was halted when coming up against Draycott Victoria in their third game, they fared the best of the current champions’ five opponents to date in a 1-3 loss.
With just three games played, Wirksworth lie fourth in Division One, with six points, one place ahead of Pride Park who have three points from their four games. Wirksworth have scored eight goals in their three games, with Vicki Cook leading the way with three goals, ahead of Georgia Williams with two. The Pride have found the net an 15 times in their four games, with Summer Evans scoring six and Annie Laight scoring five, whilst conceding 14 goals. The trick for Pride Park is to tighten up at the back without sacrificing their attacking potency – they’ll be hoping to see striker Evans return from illness to face Wirksworth on Sunday.
The teams have met on 12 occasions in cups and league, most memorably in the 2017/18 season when they completed the season with four consecutive fixtures – the first two games being the League Cup and Challenge Cup finals at Matlock, with Wirksworth running out winners in extremely close fought games by scorelines of 3-1 and 2-1 respectively. Pride Park bounced back the following week with a resounding 7-1 win in the league, and the final game in the series was a rather freakish 6-6 draw to conclude the season.
In recent seasons the teams have been fairly evenly matched and have played some entertaining and close games, which was also the case when they met in pre-season.
Over the 12 games the teams have played, Pride Park have won six, Wirksworth winning four and two have been drawn, and there has been a total of 72 goals scored. At the risk of jinxing this Sunday’s game, there has never been a goalless game between the sides and with an average of six goals per game, it should be another entertaining encounter.