Pride At Bounce Back From Cup Exit

Castle Donington 0-10 Pride Park

by ‘Doug Outt’ (30/11/22)

Above: Steph Eadon had a debut to remember for Pride Park – two goals and two assists. Photo: Shaun Hardwick.

After several days of rain, it was no surprise half the Derbyshire Ladies League (DGLL) Division One programme was postponed, but there was no problem with the pitch at Castle Donington – one of several in a good setup at Spittal Park.

Pride made a good start having the best of possession and creating a string of chances without quite firing on all cylinders – although a Beth Jones header was cleared off the line and she was denied a penalty after appearing to be pulled back in the penalty area – whilst looking a little vulnerable in a couple of counter-attacks leading to shots on goal, although both were saved comfortably by Pride’s Jade Howell.

On a slightly uneven surface, the ball was proving awkward to control at times so it may just have been a case of taking a little time to adjust to the conditions, but the fuse was finally lit and the fireworks started with the opening goal on 35 minutes.

A clearance was picked up by Annie Laight inside the Dons’ half playing a short pass to Eliot Sayavong who hooked the ball onto Tash Allderidge and her pass split the defence for substitute Steph Eadon to run onto – ten minutes into her debut – and her low cross was deflected by the foot of the goalkeeper into a retreating defender, and as she fell backwards into the goal, Summer Evans hooked the ball into the net.

The goal settled Pride and gave an injection of confidence and only three minutes later they extended their lead. Defending a throw-in near their goal line on the left, Tash Allderidge headed clear to Ella Kew, who beat an onrushing player and slipped the ball to the side for Evans who drove forward into space before playing a forward pass into the left channel for Beth Jones and from close to the touchline she put in a low cross for Steph Eadon finish at the far post for a debut goal.

Above: Beth Jones celebrates after scoring for Pride Park at Castle Donington on Sunday. Photo: Shaun Hardwick.

Pride added a third just before half-time when Eadon returned the compliment. Allderidge won the ball to right of centre on halfway, and played a weighted pass into Eadon’s path down the right. She drove toward the goal line pulling ahead of the chasing defender before hitting a low cross into the box, finished by Beth Jones 3-0.

There was no let-up for the Dons in the second half as Pride found their rhythm, scoring three in the first 10 mins, and making it five in the first 20 after half-time. The pick, arguably, of the second-half goals came on 77 minutes from a dipping shot from 25 yards by Allderidge that went in off the crossbar. Jones completed the scoring, and another hat-trick, with five minutes to go.

After taking a little while to fully click into gear, Pride were irresistible for the final hour with Eliot Sayavong catching the eye with another quietly effective performance in midfield, Allderidge providing the drive alongside her, and the strikers the finishing touch – including Eadon scoring a brace and providing two assists on her debut. After initially looking a little open, the defence denied Dons any opportunity after the opening fifteen minutes and were calm and composed building from the back.

It’s never easy being on the wrong end of a high score but the Dons’ players stuck to their task and kept going to the end, and stuck together as a group – which is to their credit.

The game threw up a host of numbers for the stattos – Beth Jones became only the second player to complete a hat-trick for Pride Park in four successive DGLL League/Cup games. After a delayed start to the season through injury, Summer Evans opened her league account for the season with a hat-trick, and Tash Allderidge scored in her fourth consecutive league game. Whilst between the sticks Jade Howell became the first Pride goalkeeper to keep clean sheets in three consecutive DGLL League and cup games – all of which contributed to a record score in a League game. Apart from that it was relatively uneventful!

Next Sunday the Pride travel to league leaders Belper Town for the final league fixture of the year (kick-off 1.30pm), finishing the following week back at Moorways with the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

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