Ilkeston Town 7-0 Pride Park
by ‘Doug Outt’ (23/11/22)
Above: Pride Park’s Summer Evans (blue kit) seen here in action in a previous match, played her first 90 minutes of the season on Sunday for the club. Photo: Pride Park FC.
Pride Park Ladies made the short trip to Ilkeston on Sunday for the Derbyshire FA Women’s County Cup Second Round; their first County Cup game since the semi-final in December 2019 – to face Ilkeston Town Ladies of the East Midlands Regional League – one division above Pride in the football pyramid.
The match, designated the tie of the round by DCFA saw two milestone events – the club’s first County Cup game in three years, and Annie Laight’s 50th appearance for the Pride.
The visitors made a decent start; Tash Allderidge having the first shot of the game – just wide – after five minutes. Both teams were probing and had shots without really troubling either keeper until just after the quarter hour, when Pride almost took the lead.
Summer Evans intercepted a goal kick, heading the ball into the channel to the left of goal and into the path of Beth Jones, who beat the defender, and from the angle of the six-yard box her shot was blocked by the ‘keeper’s foot and deflected into the centre of goal. Hannah Kwiatek running in from the right had her shot blocked by a defender, with the ball falling to Evans who also had two attempts blocked before the ball was cleared.
Ilkeston’s bench saw this as a wake-up call and the hosts responded, starting to have the better of possession and to create openings, and took the lead after 25 minutes, scoring a second after 34 minutes.
There was another very good opportunity for Pride after 40 minutes, when an Annie Laight free-kick from just inside Pride’s half was hit into the right-hand channel for Beth Jones, and her lofted shot hit the foot of the far post.
To rub salt in, Ilkeston scored a third a minute before halftime. They extended their lead seven minutes after the restart, but Pride continued to try to play their game and battled to create openings, and only two minutes later Hannah Kwiatek did well to beat the fullback but couldn’t quite get the connection she wanted and her shot went wide.
Just after the hour Beth Jones worked a little space and hit a dipping left-foot shot which the keeper did well to tip onto the crossbar and over.
Ilkeston had found their range and were proving clinical in front of goal, adding another two within a minute of each other with twenty minutes still to play.
Pride Park were now, literally, playing for pride and continued to push for what would be a deserved consolation goal. With fifteen minutes to go they went close when Tash Allderidge hit a cross-shot from wide on the left and the goalkeeper was unable to hold it, but was able to turn round and grab the ball on the line. Three minutes later Beth Jones beat the last defender and the goalkeeper, but her effort was ruled out for an offence – what the offence was remains a mystery.
Then, only two minutes later, Jones was put through, and in a race for the ball with the keeper it was a dead heat, the ball breaking to Millie Holmes who hit a lofted shot from twenty-five yards that was headed off the line by a recovering defender. Ilkeston added another with five minutes to play.
Despite conceding seven goals, the defence actually stood up to the challenge and defended well and behind them, Jade Howell showed good positioning and handling. There was no sense of deflation in the Pride camp after the game – more a sense that they had done themselves justice against higher league opposition and there were both positives, and things to learn, from the game.
Ilkeston’s quality on a very fast superb 4G surface proved just a little too much for Pride in the end but they competed well, and showed their own qualities in spells, without getting the roll of the ball or the rub of the green – although the scoreline did feel a little harsh after going so close on several occasions.
The result of this tie means Pride Park now enter the DCFA Womens Plate competition, and wait to see who they are drawn against and when the tie will be.