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PREVIEW | Belles v Derby County

29 September 2023

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In the first of two huge back-to-back home games, the Belles welcome higher-tier opposition to the Iqbal Poultry Stadium on Sunday [October 1] with Derby County making the trip in the first round of the FA Women’s National League Plate (2pm KO).

Sam Winch and Alexandre Brito Nogueira’s side have a homecoming at the Eco-Power Stadium on October 8 back in the league against Middlesbrough, but first must focus on the task at hand in this League Plate tie.

The Belles come into the game on the back of successive wins, having progressed through into the next round of the County Cup with victory at Rotherham United and earned a second league victory of the season away against Norton & Stockton Ancients last time out.

First half goals from Phoebe Sneddon and Ryley Johnson sent them in 2-1 to the good at the break in the North East, and that’s how it remained until Jas Saxton saw her shot trickle over the line late on to extend the advantage to two and give the scoreline a more comfortable feel.

Now, the journey in the Plate begins against a County side who operate in the third tier of the game, currently sat 10th in the Northern Premier Division having taken three points from their first four league games this term.

Others around them have played more, so the Ewe Rams do have games in hand, with their only win to date a 7-1 thumping of newly-promoted Stourbridge earlier this month.

Sam Griffiths’ side last weekend lost out 1-0 at home to another newly promoted outfit in Newcastle United, though the Magpies are amongst the frontrunners for promotion again this season having gone professional over the summer.

Like the Belles, who were beaten by Wolverhampton Wanderers, Derby lost out in the Determining Round of the FAWNL Cup in the early stages of the campaign, meaning they’ve been placed into the Plate.

West Bromwich Albion were the team to beat them on home soil, 4-2 victors on the day with County’s goals coming from Yasmin Mosby and last season’s joint top scorer in the division, Amy Sims.

Forward Sims is also Derby’s top scorer so far this term having netted three in her five appearances to date.

This will be the first competitive meeting between the Belles and Derby since the final day of the 2018/19 season which saw the Ewe Rams finish 3rd in the Northern Premier Division. They ran out 3-0 winners that day.

Get your tickets for Sunday’s game AND the homecoming at the Eco-Power against Middlesbrough on October 8 HERE now!

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