Nottingham Forest battled hard on Sunday afternoon as they produced a brilliant display to beat East Midlands rivals Derby County 1-0 at Pride Park.
Precious Hamilton’s headed effort in the 83rd minute proved to be the difference after Sherry McCue was given her marching orders for The Rams. Georgia Hewitt impressed again for The Reds in defence and Aja Aguirre collected her second well-deserved consecutive clean sheet.
Andy Cook named an unchanged side for the fierce league match up that produced a superb 5-0 win over Sheffield FC on Thursday night.
The Rams created a handful of chances in the opening 10 minutes of the game as Ellie Gilliatt made her name be known to the Forest defence. But her couple of long-ranged attempts on goal were well blocked and cleared by The Reds.
Bex Rayner’s corner-kick caused mayhem for Derby on the 11th minute as Forest got their first taste in front of goal. Both Hamilton and Sophie Tudor attempted to divert the ball towards goal with two quick efforts but both were cleared before they could test the ‘keeper.
Izzy Dalton saved The Reds from going a goal behind on the quarter-of-an-hour mark as The Rams pushed for a first-half opener. Dalton pulled off a terrific goal line clearance after a shot from the home side was certain to be heading for the back of the net and then The Reds were able to clear the ball away from any potential danger.
Hamilton continued to hunt down the Derby goal as she was keen to add to her already impressive goal tally. Leah Kellogg took too long with her clearance and Hamilton nearly punished the Derby ‘keeper as she made herself big enough to block her goal kick but her deflected effort flew wide of the goal.
Forest came out fighting in the second half as they took hold of the reins and began to control the game.
Hamilton got past the Derby defence and squared a hard pass through the home side’s box searching for a red shirt. But the effort was behind Katie Middleton and Tudor, who had gone surging into the penalty box, and the ball was eventually cleared.
McCue saw red on the 64th minute after she picked up a second yellow for bringing down substitute Bolu Fisher in the Derby half. The Reds took full advantage of the extra player and Hamilton came marginally close to opening the scoring but her effort curled agonisingly wide.
Hamilton made no mistake the second time of asking as she sealed the win for The Reds with seven minutes to go to spectacularly bag her eighth goal in five games. Rayner floated a great corner-kick into the Derby box and Hamilton was hovering around the penalty spot to smack a solid header past several black and white shirts and the helpless ‘keeper between the sticks.
Forest remained composed in the final stages of the game to ensure all three points headed back home to Nottingham along the A52.
Forest: Aguirre, Dalton, Harkin (c), Cook, Hewitt, Tudor, Walton, Warner (Bennett 90+1’), Rayner, Middleton (Fisher 59’), Hamilton
Unused subs: Davies, Casper, Dexter
Bookings: Fisher 66’, Hewitt 81’
Goal: Hamilton 83’
Derby: Kellogg, Ward (c), Jackson, Owen, Sims, McCue, Barber, Keryakoplis, Domingo (Rai 75’), Watson (Ford 54’), Gilliatt
Unused subs: Morgan, Darby, Ledgister
Bookings: McCue 43’, 64’, Keryakoplis 56’, Rai 81’
Sent off: McCue 64'