Six of the best for the Pride

Pride Park 6-2 Castle Donington

by ‘Doug Outt’ (16/2/23)

Above: Beth Jones, Pride Park’s five-goal hero seen here celebrating after scoring in an away game earlier this season. Photo: Shaun Hardwick.

Although not a classic ‘game of two halves’ – the scores were the same in each period – there was a distinct difference between the first and second periods of Sunday’s Derbyshire Ladies League Division One game between Pride Park and Castle Donington.

The opening period started well for Pride, who took the lead after three minutes when Annie Laight’s free-kick from deep inside the Pride half found Beth Jones in the channel, she turned inside a recovering defender and slotted past the advancing keeper.

However, if that made anyone think it was going to be one-way traffic and an easy three points, they were very much mistaken. Castle Donington responded well to going behind, and within a couple of minutes had a good chance to level, but Pride’s keeper Jade Howell got her angles right and did very well to turn a close-range shot aside. 

There were shots for Pride from Tash Allderidge – which just cleared the crossbar – and Beth Jones – which the keeper tipped around the post then, just after the half-hour Annie Laight collected an attempted through ball, her short pass to Eliot Sayavoing was laid off to Sophie Ayton in the centre of the pitch and she picked out Beth Jones with a slide-rule pass and she hit a first time shot wide of the keeper for 2-0. 

Above: Pride Park’s Rachel Weaver (right) in action earlier this season. Photo: Shaun Hardwick.

A couple of minutes later Jones anticipated a ball out from the back to press and win the ball, which fell to Steph Eadon, but her shot went just wide.

Pride were then caught out by a direct ball through the back line, the striker beat Jade Howell and Sophie Roberts to it and passed the ball into the net from the left edge of the penalty area to reduce the deficit.

Pride’s two-goal cushion was restored as half-time approached when a diagonal ball from Impetussponsored Ella Kew was initially cut out, but Steph Eadon won the second ball and played wide for Otty Baker, who played a pass into the path of Beth Jones and she hit a left foot shot beyond the keeper to restore Pride’s two-goal advantage. 

It had at times been a scrappy first half, with Pride having slightly more possession but both sides finding it difficult to build momentum and put a string of passes together with any consistency.

The second half started in a similar fashion to the first period; three minutes after the restart Pride had a throw-in on their left, about 10 metres inside the Dons’ half. From the throw, there was a quick exchange of passes between Tash Allderidge, Eliot Sayavong, and back to Rachel Weaver, who picked out Beth Jones as she peeled away into space. Jones took one touch to control and the second to hit the ball beyond the keeper’s right hand into the top corner for 4-1.

Above: Beth Jones had a fine afternoon for Pride Park on Sunday. Photo: Shaun Hardwick.

The Dons had a sight of goal 10 minutes into the second period, but their shot from the edge of the penalty area was comfortably held by Jade Howell. The action went straight back up the other end, and from a corner, Ella Kew’s stooping header was deflected but saved by the keeper.

Three minutes later as Castle Donington brought the ball out from defence, Kew closed down the ball carrier, and the defender’s pass was anticipated and intercepted superbly by Rachel Weaver, a quick interchange with Steph Eadon put Rachel in on goal and she steered the ball wide of the keeper as Pride’s lead went out to 5-1.

Tash Allderidge shot narrowly over the crossbar on the hour, then, with 67’ played, Otty Baker took a throw on the right in to Beth Jones and despite the close attention of two defenders she somehow wriggled clear to finish low in to the corner for the home side’s sixth of the afternoon. Castle Donington scored a second on the break with a very good finish right on time.

Pride were more composed on the ball in the second half, enjoying much more possession and territory as a result which, together with closing down Castle Donington’s passing options limited the visitors’ attacks. Pride were able to exercise a degree of control to see out a good win, with football that was very easy on the eye. 

Next up for Pride Pride is another home game against the University of Derby in the Cawarden’s Derbyshire FA County Plate quarter-final at Moorways (kick off at 1.30pm). 

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

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