Pride Park 3-0 Amber Valley
by ‘Doug Outt’ (16/11/22).
Above: Annie Laight in action for Pride Park – part of the Derbyshire side’s defence who kept another clean sheet. Photo: via Pride Park FC.
Another Beth Jones hat-trick and a clean sheet saw Pride Park into the quarter-final of the Derbyshire Ladies League Challenge Cup.
There was a ten-minute delay to kick-off due to traffic delays affecting the visitors’ players caused by an accident on the A38. After starting their last two games at a good tempo the extra 10 minutes of keeping warm after the warm-up seemed to affect Pride, as they were slow getting into their stride.
Despite this, Pride fashioned the first real chance of the game after three minutes – a combination in the centre between Tash Allderidge, Summer Evans and culminating in Beth Jones laying off for Hannah Kwiatek to have a close-range shot saved by the ‘keeper.
A few minutes later, Ella Kew made a terrific run down the left and put an inviting ball across the six-yard box which Beth Jones was only inches away from connecting with.
After fifteen minutes Amber Valley had a chance as a diagonal ball was hit into space behind the defence, putting their speedy winger through and cutting in from wide, beating goalkeeper Jade Howell to the ball, but Sophie Ayton had taken up an excellent covering position and was able to clear.
Pride made the breakthrough just after twenty minutes, as Sophie Roberts won the ball back at right back, slipping it to Sophie Ayton, who played a short pass to Ella Kew. Kew took a few steps with the ball before hitting a pass into the channel for Jones to run beyond the defenders and turn in at the near post.
Five minutes later, Eliot Sayavong put Jones through but her shot was parried by the keeper who grabbed it at the second attempt as it threatened to go over the line. The goalkeeper was injured in making the save, either blocking the shot or when falling on the ball. After the game it was confirmed that the injury was a broken forearm in what seemed a really innocuous incident and terribly bad luck. We wish her a full and speedy recovery.
After a lengthy stoppage, Allderidge intercepted the stand-in goalkeeper’s clearance from the drop ball, playing a first-time pass forward to Evans who headed on to Jones, who beat the keeper but saw her shot go just wide of the post. Jones made no mistake six minutes before half-time, however, as Evans headed on Rachel Weaver’s pass and Jones finished from a tight angle for 2-0.
There was an opportunity for Amber Valley on the stroke of half-time, as Yasmin Uppal received a throw-in on the left, near the edge of the area, before beating three Pride players and hitting a shot on target, but Jade Howell had her angles right and held the shot.
Pride made a very quick start to the second half, extending their lead within a minute of the restart. A slick combination between Weaver, Evans, and Otty Baker culminated in a superb pass by Baker into the path of Jones who rounded the goalkeeper to complete her hat-trick (her third in consecutive games) from another tight angle, despite three defenders getting back.
It looked like Weaver had added a fourth after 67 minutes, bundling home Kew’s corner at the far post, but it was ruled out as the corner had curled out of play and in again.
Shortly afterwards Amber Valley won a throw-in on their left, level with the edge of the penalty area. Pride switched off momentarily, leaving the thrower unattended and able to take the return pass before stepping infield and hitting a good shot, which ‘keeper Howell watched all the way and tipped over.
With a quarter of an hour to go Pride had a good chance to extend their lead, as Sayavong won the ball back from an Amber Valley throw-in, prodding the ball to Baker who released Evans with a superb pass. Evans beat the first defender and held off a second defender but put her shot just over the crossbar.
Good build-up play created chances for Sayavong – whose shot was saved – and Kew who shot narrowly wide. With five minutes remaining an Izzy Wilsoncroft throw-in was headed on by Sayavong across the area, the bounce proving difficult for the defender but Fran Critchley-Watson’s shot was saved at point-blank range, the ‘keeper recovering well to reach the rebound first and smother the ball.
The remaining five minutes were played without incident – a third hat-trick in as many games for Beth Jones – taking her to 12 for the season – and a second consecutive clean sheet enough for the Pride to advance to a quarter-final against Wirksworth Colts on 11th December.
Whilst Jones’ hat-trick will capture the attention, it was also a second clean sheet in consecutive games, reflecting excellent work by goalkeeper Howell and the back four with excellent screening by Sayavong which limited Amber Valley to four goal attempts. Sophie Ayton seemed to get her head to everything and Annie Laight was calm and composed, reading play well to make key interceptions and both centre backs were composed in possession.
It’s more cup action next week as the Pride travel to East Midlands Regional League side Ilkeston Town in the Derbyshire FA County Cup 1st Round (KO 1.30pm).
Match highlights can be seen here: https://www.prideparkfc.com/videos/highlights–pride-park-v-amber-valley-20221113-184673.html