AFC Fylde Women grabbed their first win of the season last Sunday with an impressive 2-0 victory over Derby County FC Women in the FAWNL Northern Premier Division.
In the first of two consecutive meetings with the Ewe Rams, the Coasters came away from Derbyshire with all three points thanks to goals on either side of the interval from Amy Hughes and Jess Holbrook.
Built on solid defensive foundations, Danielle Young’s side showed a clinical edge to score at key moments of the game and record their first maximum of the campaign.
After battling to a goalless draw against West Bromwich Albion Women last time out, Danielle Young’s team travelled to the Don Amott Arena in Mickleover to face Samantha Griffiths’ high-flying Derby County, who were in a rich vein of form after back-to-back wins in the league.
Prior to kick-off, both teams came together to observe a minute’s silence in memory of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, which was followed by a rendition of the national anthem.
With only seven minutes on the clock, the Coasters took the lead after a blistering counterattack by Amy Hughes. Gliding past two defenders, Hughes made no mistake with a confident finish past Derby goalkeeper Imogen Maguire to give Fylde the early advantage.
Searching for an equaliser, the Ewe Rams went close with attempts from Marli Rhodes-Andrews and Amy Sims, but both fired narrowly off target.
With Fylde’s regular goalkeepers Megan Hunter and Ellie Etheridge out through injury, experienced defender Jenna Carroll donned the gloves for the Coasters and performed well when called upon.
On the half-hour mark, Carroll made a crucial save to tip Rhodes-Andrews’ close-range shot onto the crossbar. A minute later, Rhodes-Andrews came forward again and played in Jess Camwell, whose first-time shot flashed wide of the target. Under increasing pressure, Fylde defended exceptionally well to keep the hosts at bay.
Shortly before the break, Fylde almost scored again when Emily Hollinshead took aim from distance but her powerful effort whistled over the crossbar.
Half-Time: Derby County FC Women 0-1 AFC Fylde Women
The second period was as closely contested as the first. The hosts continued to cause problems down the flanks, with winger Keira Barry impressing in particular. After Camwell fired over the crossbar from inside the area, it was then the visitors who created the next big chance.
Amy Hughes darted to the by-line before sending over an inviting cross, but her cross just failed to connect with a teammate in the box.
Midfielder Jess Holbrook then produced a moment of magic to double Fylde’s lead in the 73rd minute. Taking aim from outside the area, Holbrook curled a sensational strike into the bottom corner to leave the goalkeeper with no chance.
Shortly afterwards, new signing Cara Bickett made her debut off the bench to help close out the remainder of the game.
In the final action of the game, Carroll made another smart save to deny Emily Joyce from netting a consolation goal. In the end, the Coasters held on to register their maiden win of the season.
Full-Time: Derby County FC Women 0-2 AFC Fylde Women
Next up, the Coasters will welcome the same opposition to Kellamergh Park on Sunday, only this time with the teams meeting in the FAWNL Cup. This exciting tie will be played on Sunday 25th September, with kick-off at 2.00 pm. As a result, the originally scheduled league fixture against Wolves Women has been postponed to a later date.
AFC Fylde Women: Carroll, Fryer, Taylor, Pearson, Merrin, Forster, Holbrook, Fields, Hughes, McCoy (84’ Bickett), Hollinshead.
Unused substitutes: Young, Binks
Report by Scott Jones