SAFC Ladies 5 Derby County Women 4 | Evening Chronicle

SUNDERLAND Ladies held off a second-half fightback to beat Derby County 5-4 in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division.

In a frantic opening five minutes, defender Louise Griffiths’ opener was cancelled out by Hannah Keryakoplis before Keira Ramshaw, Emily Scarr and an own goal gave the Wearsiders a dominant lead at the interval.

However, Emily Joyce and Precious Hamilton hauled the Ewes back into the game with their momentum briefly halted by Ramshaw’s second. Jade Formaston’s late strike set up a nervous final 10 minutes.

In horrendous conditions, Sunderland decided to kick with the wind in the first half, a decision which provided an instant reward as Griffiths’ cross from the left evaded everyone and flew into the far corner.

County responded minutes later, Keryakoplis firing home from the edge of the box and wrong-footing Claudia Moan.

However, it was Sunderland who regained the lead when Scarr rose highest in the box to head Ramshaw’s cross past Charlotte Clarke.

Moan pulled off an incredible double save from a corner before tipping a powerful shot round the post, Ramshaw, Holly Manders and Eve Blakey missing chances at the other end.

Sunderland went further ahead, Ramshaw running on to Abbey Joice’s through ball to slot past Clarke.

The Black Cats then took control of the game by adding a fourth as a low cross was bundled over the line by a Derby defender.

The deficit was reduced before the hour mark, Sunderland failing to deal with a swirling cross which allowed Joyce to head into the net and give the Ewes a lifeline.

An attempted block then swirled into the air and Hamilton reacted first to knock the ball over the line and make it 4-3.

Ramshaw doubled her tally before Formaston rounded off the scoring.

The narrow victory took Mel Reay’s Wearsiders into fourth place in the Northern Premier Division, seven points behind leaders Huddersfield Town.

SAFC Ladies: Moan, McCatty, Herron, Griffiths, Beer, Scarr, Joice, Manders (Brown 70’), Mullen, Ramshaw (c), Blakey.

Subs not used: Studholme, Hutchinson, Corney.