Naomi Lawrence claimed a goal and an assist in a fantastic cup final for the Ewe Rams Devs. They opened the scoring just before half time before adding three goals in the second half including a screamer from Amber Denny.
Derby kicked off the first half and looked direct from the beginning, but it was Long Eaton who had the first shot, Hannah Barber’s half-volley saved well by Erica Rey-Dubra’s.
The first real chance of the game fell to Lawrence. When her strike partner Dannie Oxley played a neat through ball, Lawrence skilfully passed the last defender and would have scored but for a great Jamie Kingham save.
Long Eaton enjoyed spells of pressure in the first half but struggled to create any real openings thanks to Derby’s organisation at the back. The blues were a threat on the break with pace in wide areas.
On the half-hour mark, Lawrence was involved again when she picked up a loose ball in the Long Eaton box. The Derby striker found Oxley whose low-shot at goal was blocked well by Millie Fuglar.
Oxley had an even better opportunity four minutes later when a nice one-two with Millie Drinkhall set her free on her left foot, though yet again Kingham was well positioned to make the save.
Just after the fourth official signalled there would be one minute of added time to the first half, Derby finally got the breakthrough.
A free-kick on the left-hand-side was crossed deep towards the back-post where Drinkhall headed it down to James. From there the left back knew exactly what to do, and she slotted the ball into the bottom-right corner back across the keeper.
Derby found more space in the second half and managed to play more passing football. Lawrence was fed by Oxley and after a tremendous roulette, she forced a good save from Kingham.
Lawrence finally got her goal shortly after, as the Ewe Rams doubled the lead. After a bursting run, Lauren Taft broke into the box and saw her shot at goal saved. Lawrence reacted quickest and fired the ball into the net.
Long Eaton had opportunities from set pieces, Fulgar going the closest, but her header was blocked well by Denny. Eventually it was Derby who scored from a corner - Lawrence did well to flick the ball on and Drinkhall was well positioned to head home.
Derby’s captain led by example to wrap the game up 13 minutes from time. A free kick of the highest order was smashed into the top corner by Denny from over 30 yards. It was a goal to mark the occasion and one that will be talked about for some time.
A fantastic performance from the Ewe Rams Development and they deservedly won the game. After the full time whistle Derby lifted the Women’s Cup in the air to great applause from the packed ‘Big Jim Stand’ at Grange Park.