In a repeat of last season’s Derbyshire Women’s Plate final, Wirksworth Colts are 3-1 victors once again despite a resilient performance from Belper Town.
In April 2023, Belper Town Ladies and Wirksworth Colts Ladies met in the Derbyshire Women’s Plate final, sponsored by Cawarden. That tie saw a screamer of a goal, penalty drama, a late comeback and Lionesses-inspired goal celebrations. Wirksworth ran out 3-1 victors to win the Plate.
When the draw was announced for this season’s Women’s Cup second round, all eyes were on Belper Town Ladies vs Wirksworth Colts Ladies. For Belper, a chance at redemption, and for Wirksworth, a chance to further demonstrate their prowess as Derbyshire Ladies League Division 1 and Women’s Plate champions.
The game kicked off at 2:15PM on Sunday 19th November on a cloudy, drizzly day in Belper. The venue was originally due to be the Raygar Stadium but was moved to the 3G at Belper Leisure Centre.
Belper Town began the game with brilliant energy, pressing constantly and not allowing Wirksworth any time on the ball. Despite their positive start, a lapse in concentration at the back allowed Colts forward Romy Shepherd to stroke the ball beautifully on the volley to open the scoring, giving the visitors the lead after 17 minutes.
Wirksworth capitalised on Belper’s misfortunes and doubled their lead just one minute later. Poppy Lloyd slotted it home to make it 0-2.
The Nailers hit back after 24 minutes, as skilful winger India Amans ran clear and cut in on her right foot, drilling the ball into the net to give Belper a lifeline.
For the remainder of the first half and the beginning of the second half, the tempo of the game slowed down, with few chances coming either way. In the 70th minute, Wirksworth’s Sarah Stimpson found space on the edge of the box and fired a fierce shot towards goal, which rattled against the far post and bounced away. In the 76th minute, Belper’s hardworking midfielder Sammy Bennett weaved in and out, brilliantly evading challenge, but curled her shot narrowly wide.
Wirksworth Colts scored their third of the afternoon with two minutes to go. Elegant midfielder Grace Bradbury picked up the ball outside of the box and drilled a precise low effort right into the bottom corner.
Minutes later, referee Rhys Watkinson blew full-time with the final score being Belper Town Ladies 1-3 Wirksworth Colts Ladies.
This results means Wirksworth Colts enter the quarter final of the Women’s Cup, alongside sides such as Chesterfield Ladies and Derby County Women U20’s. Belper Town, having been knocked out of the Women’s Cup, will enter the Women’s Plate. The Nailers will hope to go all the way, having reached the last three Plate finals and losing in all of them. The draw for both of these competitions will take place later this week.