Nottingham Forest make the short trip down the A52 on Sunday afternoon as they take on East Midlands rivals, Derby County, in a fierce FA Women’s National League showdown at Pride Park.
The Reds come into the game in high spirits after they produced a dominating display against Sheffield FC on Thursday night. Forest put five past the Yorkshire side to pick up their first win and clean sheet of the season to set them in good stead heading into the weekend. It was an all-round impressive 90 minutes from the side as three Reds etched their names on the scoresheet. Precious Hamilton bagged her first hat-trick in Garibaldi and Phoebe Warner and Bex Rayner added the game’s two extra goals as they also recorded their first league goals for the club.
The Rams also head into the fixture full of confidence following two consecutive league victories. After three league games in this season’s campaign Derby currently sit three places above The Reds as they have picked up one extra win. Derby most recently brushed aside Loughborough Foxes under the floodlights last Thursday evening as they comfortably beat the league newcomers 5-0. The goals have flooded in for The Rams so far, this league campaign as they have racked up a whopping 13 goals across the three opening games. Summer signing, Ellie Gilliatt has become a key player for the side this season as she has netted herself three goals in the league so far. The former Sheffield United captain has a key eye for the goal and will be a player The Reds will be wary of coming into Sunday’s fixture.
But The Reds possess a goal machine of their own in the form of the in-form striker, Precious Hamilton. The forward is no stranger to Derby County as she once donned their colours but Hamilton is now a Red and has picked up a brilliant seven goals in four games across all competitions so far, this season. Hamilton has scored in every one of the side’s games this season and will play a key part in unlocking the Derby defence on Sunday. Bex Rayner will be another pivotal player for The Reds on derby day as she is set to feature in her first East Midlands match-up. The England international arrived at Forest during the summer and has sprinkled her magic across the side since arriving. With a collection of flicks and tricks in her locker Rayner will be hoping to set Pride Park alight on Sunday and help her side head back to Nottingham will all three points.
Both side’s last met back in March in the first East Midland’s derby hosted at The Reds’ home ground, Eastwood CFC. Helena Constantinou put Forest ahead after only 11 minutes after her brilliant corner kick flew over the helpless ‘keepers’ head and nestled itself in the back of the net. The Reds were set to record their first derby day win in 18 months but The Rams spoilt the party as Hannah Ward struck in the dying moments of the game to ensure the points were shared. Dropping the points in the stoppage time last season adds more motivation for Forest heading into the game as they aim to build on Thursday’s momentum.