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Match Reports

Nottingham Forest 1-1 Derby County

25 March 2019

A record crowd of 1,252 saw the spoils shared in the East Midlands derby as Nottingham Forest were forced to settle for a point against Derby County.

The fantastic support shown to the team means the East Midlands derby was the highest attended game ever played at Eastwood Community Football Club.

Helena Constantinou's opener direct from a corner looked set to give The Reds the local bragging rights but Stephanie Smith's last-minute equaliser ensured the visitors took a point back along the A52.

The game saw three new faces make their debuts for Forest as Aja Aguirre and Jordan Atkin were named in the starting 11 while Precious Hamilton came on as a second-half substitute.

Derby began the game brightly and had several opportunities to take an early lead including a chance for former Red Andi Bell but Georgia Hewitt did superbly to force her out wide and then put in a perfectly-timed block to deny her a strike on goal.

The visitors thought they had hit the front on six minutes as a shot was diverted beyond Aguirre and into the back of the net but, fortunately for The Reds, the goal was chalked off for offside.

It proved to be a much-needed wake-up call for Forest who then began to settle down and take control of the game. Katie Middleton did well to keep the ball alive in Derby territory and send the ball into the box but Izzy Sullivan's effort was blocked behind for a corner.

The home crowd were sent into raptures soon after as Forest hit the front. Constantinou's superb set-piece caused havoc inside the Derby penalty area and as goalkeeper Sarah Morgan rose to claim the ball, she could only fumble the ball into the back of her own net under pressure.

Aguirre was called into action when Derby captain Hannah Ward thundered a free-kick towards goal but the Forest debutant got down well to produce an excellent save and the ball was cleared away from danger.

Forest should have doubled their lead on 29 minutes as Middleton's pace caused trouble for Derby once again. Having beat the Derby defence and powered into the penalty area, she squared the ball into the path of the onrushing Atkin but she wasn't able to rearrange her feet quick enough and her shot rolled wide.

Amy Simms found some space in Forest's final third and went on a mazy run past a couple of red shirts and as the full-back smashed a shot from the edge of the box, Lyndsey Harkin was on hand to deny her with a strong block.

Both sides came out battling in the second half and Constantinou continued to put her stamp on the game. Having won back possession in the middle third, she slipped a ball through in Atkin's direction but Derby got back well to smuggle the ball away.

Hamilton entered the fray on 53 minutes and came close to doubling her side's lead as she rifled a shot from 25 yards out but Morgan did well to push her shot around the post to prevent Forest from taking a commanding two-goal lead.

The Reds were also bolstered by the return of Sophia Bonser on 83 minutes as she returned from a lengthy injury that had seen her not feature for the side consistently since last year.

Hamilton had another opportunity in front of goal two minutes from time as she picked up the ball, beat her marker and curled a shot towards goal from 22 yards but Morgan got across to make a superb save and tip the ball behind.

It was late heartbreak for The Reds as Derby drew level in the 90th minute. A quickly-worked corner from the visitors resulted in Smith curling a shot from inside the penalty area that flew beyond Aguirre and nestled itself in the top left-hand corner.

Despite the late disappointment, manager Alena Moulton expressed her delight over her side's performance and said: "The girls were absolutely fantastic from the first moment and every single one of them gave everything. From the new players to the old, they stuck to the game-plan and in terms of hard work, grit and determination, they were brilliant."

Forest: Aguirre, Wilson, Harkin (c), Walters, Hewitt, Weston, Bennett, Constantinou, Middleton, Atkin (Bonser 82'), Sullivan (Hamilton 53')

Subs not used: Hallam, Reek, Edwards

Goal: Constantinou 11'

Derby: Morgan, Simms, Harrison, Ward, Camilla Newton (Ledgister 76'), Joyce, Smith, Watson, Redgrave, Bell (Barber 66'), Cara Newton (Tait 87')

Subs not used: Kellogg, James

Goal: Smith 90'

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