Pride Park 0-4 Draycott Victoria
Above: Pride Park’s Rachel Weaver, who had an impressive performance on Sunday. Photo: Shaun Hardwick.
By Doug Outt (13/4/22)
Pride Park knew the Derbyshire Ladies League Division One leaders will have been stung by their first defeat of the season at their hands last week and – whilst, in all probability, it only delayed the inevitable – that there would be a reaction from them in the second of two consecutive games at Moorways on Sunday yesterday. However, boosted by last weekend’s win it was a challenge that the home side were looking forward to.
There was a late change to the starting eleven, as Maja Znamirowska was held up by a motorway accident, but otherwise, The Pride had the unusual sight of an almost full bench.
Both teams were joined for the walk-out by mascots from #ThePride U8 and U9s who also enjoyed a penalty shoot-out on the pitch at half-time.
Pride Park made a bright start to the game and enjoyed good possession and territory in the opening stages. There was an early shot from distance by Sayavong that drifted wide, before a really good chance for Bryan after a powerful run down the left took her clear and into the box but her shot cleared the crossbar.
It was a high tempo game, broken up by a series of free-kicks – a yellow card being shown to a Draycott player for a late challenge on Pride’s Weaver. The teams were like two boxers circling each other in the ring, throwing the odd jab but looking for the opportunity to land a decisive blow – which came from the visitors after 25 minutes. A high bouncing ball down the Pride Park left was headed on by a Draycott player for a half-volley lob from the edge of the area.
It was a setback, but Pride Park responded well – Jones had a shot saved, and Sayavong and Znamirowska had shots but were unable to work the goalkeeper. As the half was ending, there was a scramble in the Park goalmouth, but Weaver and Sayavong combined to block the chance and clear for a corner, which came to nothing.
Pride Park had edged the first half, both in terms of overall play and chances created – but it was Draycott who went in ahead at half-time.
The second half started in much the same vein as the first half – a foul on Znamirowska giving Pride Park a free kick on the angle of the penalty area. Weaver took the kick, curling an inswinging shot in towards the far corner and forcing the keeper to turn it behind.
The game was more or less decided as The Pride lost concentration at the back, allowing balls in from the left to find an unmarked player to hit her shot home – three times in five minutes – to effectively seal the game for Draycott.
Despite this, the home side rallied and pushed in search of at least a consolation goal, creating several good chances; Bryan putting in a low cross that first Allderidge and then Evans were only inches away from putting in. Evans had a couple of good chances after beating defenders – putting a shot over when clear – and seeing another shot slip through the keeper’s hands, but she recovered just in time to prevent the goal. Znamirowska also shot wide, and had a shot blocked on the line, and it was confirmed it was going to be that kind of day when Bryan skipped through two tackles in the box and her shot was blocked, only to ricochet against her, up onto the crossbar and over!
It was particularly disappointing for Pride Park to concede in the way they did in that costly five-minute spell, as they otherwise defended well and largely contained the threat from Draycott. The Pride had more than matched the league leaders and created enough good chances for the game to have – potentially – even finished in a draw, but having been ruthlessly efficient in front of goal in recent games, their eye for goal, or luck, deserted them on Sunday, whilst Draycott took their chances well.
It was a battling and committed performance all round. Sayavong and Allderidge were again outstanding together in centre midfield, Bryan was a constant threat down the left, and Ayton did well in reverting to her original right of midfield role for this game.
The win for Draycott means only Borrowash Victoria can catch them now, but two more wins for Draycott will seal the title, even if Borrowash win their remaining games. There’s no game for Pride Park this Sunday, with the next fixture being at Borrowash Victoria on Sunday 24th April (1.30pm ko).