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Women's Football News
Derby County clinched the Midland Combination title and promotion to the Premier League after beating Crewe Alexandra 4-2 at Pride Park.
Derby went into their final league match of the season with their fate in their own hands, knowing that a win was required to secure the title. The match took place at Pride Park stadium and attracted a large crowd of up to 1,000 to cheer the ladies on it in what turned out to be a tense affair.
Against the run of play it was Crewe Alexandra who took the lead as a miscommunication in the Derby defence allowed the Crewe forward to run unchallenged onto a long through ball and fire confidently past Jenny Simpson. Derby kept their composure and again began to mount attacks with both Becki Bryan and Sophie Thomas on the right hand side enjoying lots of room. One such attack earned the equaliser as a ball to the back post fell to Emily Jeffery, who controlled well and fired across the goal which Lauren Steadman managed to redirect with her head into the back of the net.
With Derby now on top, but Crewe looking threatening on the break, it was the turn of the home side to take the lead. A shot from outside the area was initially well saved but with Crewe unable to clear the ball, Jemma Douglas ran on and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner. The lead didn't last long and with just five minutes remaining before half time Sinead Morgan bundled over the Crewe striker on the edge of the box and the resulting free kick was struck superbly high into the net to draw the scores level.
A determined Derby side reappeared for the second half and within just five minutes, Jeffery's shot struck the hand of a Crewe defender and the ref had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Captain Leanne Beet made no mistake, showing great composure. The second half turned into a scrappy affair with Derby again pushing for the fourth but Crewe breaking dangerously.
Chances came and went and with eight minutes left on the clock, a Morgan corner caused confusion in the area and as others hesitated, Beet slid in to get her second and the Rams' fourth, much to the relief of a very vocal crowd.
Credit should be given to both sets of players who gave everything in this game and with Crewe hitting the bar from a free kick at 3-2, lady luck played her role as well. The final whistle came and sparked scenes of celebration in a fitting end to a very hard season.
Derby will have a chance to complete the League and Cup 'double' when they take on Copsewood (Coventry) in the League Cup Final next Wednesday.
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