Nottingham Forest dismantled East Midlands rivals Derby County on Sunday afternoon as they secured a 2-0 victory in front of a bumper crowd at Eastwood Community Football Club.
A stunning free-kick from Charlotte Steggles after only six minutes put The Reds in the driving seat as Rosie Axten rounded off the sweet victory with a finish in the second-half.
Andy Cook made one change to his side from last week’s opening day game as Sydnie Naylor was brought into the starting 11 in replace of Laura-Jayne O’Neill. Hayley James also made her first official appearance in the Garibaldi as she was introduced as a second-half substitute as she has fought her way back from injury.
It only took The Reds six minutes to carve out the opening goal of the game as Steggles netted her first goal for the side in spectacular fashion. Forest were awarded a free-kick inside the Derby final third after Axten was fouled and Steggles took advantage of the opportunity as she rocketed the set piece into the top left-hand corner of goal, leaving the ‘keeper helpless.
Charlotte Greengrass came marginally close to doubling The Reds’ lead only three minutes later after she rose the highest inside the penalty box to meet Bex Rayner’s corner-kick but her headed effort came crashing back off the goal post.
Naylor and Rayner linked up just outside The Ewe Rams’ box on the 21st minute as Forest continued their search for their second of the game. A great back-heeled pass from Naylor found Rayner on the edge of the box but her resulting shot was well blocked by a defender and cleared away from danger.
Aja Aguirre produced a stellar performance in between the sticks for The Reds as she put together a string of great saves to ensure her side earnt the win. Her first came on the 29th minute as Derby took advantage of Forest failing to clear their lines and an Ewe Ram fired a first-time effort from close range on goal but the save was made.
Aguirre made two more great saves in the closing minutes of the second-half as she guaranteed The Reds went into the break ahead.
Forest were awarded a free-kick only two minutes into the second-half as the ball was handled just outside the box. Rayner smashed the set piece towards goal but Charlotte Clarke did well to push the ball around her goal post to deny Forest.
The Reds continued their hunt for their second of the afternoon and Axten came close as she weaved her way through the final third before smacking an effort goal wards but her shot flew just over the cross bar.
Greengrass and Aguirre came up big for The Reds inside the Forest box on the 70th minute after Sophie Domingo skipped past a couple of red shirts and dribbled her way into the area. Both of The Reds did enough to force Domingo to shoot wide of the goal.
Forest got the second goal they had been searching for on the 77th minute as Axten got off the mark for the club. Lucy Johnson slipped a well-weighted pass into the path of Axten inside the Derby box who took a touch before slotting the ball home against her former club.
Lyndsey Harkin had an opportunity to make it three for The Reds on the 83rd minute as she fired an adventurous effort from over 22 yards out towards goal but she saw her shot fly over the target.
But the two goals from Steggles and Axten were enough for Forest as the side claimed their first win of the season in a memorable afternoon at Eastwood.
Forest: Aguirre, Greengrass, Harkin (c), Steggles, Hewitt (James 61’), Johnson, Tudor, Moncaster, Naylor (McKechnie 79’), Rayner, Axten (Middleton 89’)
Subs not used: Scholefield, Broad
Goals: Steggles 6’, Axten 77’
Booking: Johnson 77'
Derby: Clarke, Sims, Tinsley, McCue, Ward (c), Barber, Formaston, Joyce (Anderson 84’), Domingo, Keryakoplis, May (Boix 64’)
Subs not used: Morgan, Travis