Andi Bell’s brace gave Derby County Ladies an important win, whilst Hinckley finish the season with three wins from four and Mansfield keep the play-off dream alive.
Derby County Ladies
Your IT sponsored striker Andi Bell struck twice as Derby County Ladies overcame West Bromwich Albion Ladies in their latest FA Women’s Premier Northern Division match.
Bell put the Ewe Rams 1-0 up with a sumptuous volley before half-time. WBA equalised in the second-half and the game looked to be heading for a draw. However, when Georgie Hewitt was tripped in the box late on Bell kept her cool to slot home the resultant penalty and secure all three points for Derby.
In their previous game The Ewe Rams had to come from behind to earn a point against Wolverhampton Wanderers Women. A goal from substitute Kirsty Allen secured a 1-1 draw. Allen’s strike saw the Ewe Rams come away with a deserved point but left manager John Bennett frustrated.
Derby sit 7th in the table with three left to play and an outside chance of making the top five.
Behind the scenes the club has announced closer links with the men’s team, including sharing of the training facilities. The closer tie will help with The Ewe Rams application to the Women’s Super League 2, the second tier of the national pyramid.
Manager John Bennett also announced he would be stepping down to be replaced by current Director of Football, Sam Griffiths. Griffiths holds a UEFA A Licence, which is a requirement for head coaches in the WSL.
Mansfield Town’s play-off push will go down to the final day of the season. A Lee Angol brace helped the Stags come from behind twice to secure a 3-2 win against Yeovil Town in the final game of the month.
Despite a positive start to the game, Mansfield found themselves behind at the interval. In the 17th minute, a well delivered corner was headed into the back of the net by Bevis Mugabi.
Lee Angols introduction at half-time proved to be the turning point. Just 3 minutes after his introduction CJ Hamilton’s cross from the left ended up at the feet of Angol. He was able to hook the ball into the back of the net despite Yeovil having a player on the line.
The parity didn’t last however as Yeovil went ahead again in the 58th minute, Francois Zoko scoring a penalty. Ten minutes later, the Stags were awarded a spot kick of their own after Angol’s free-kick was handled.
Kane Hemmings stepped up and drilled the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-2. In the 76th minute, Mansfield scored their winner. From another free-kick 20-yards out, Lee Angol secured his brace, hitting an unstoppable effort in off the crossbar.
That result made it four without defeat for The Stags. A trip to Stevenage on Tuesday 10th April saw Mansfield come back from behind to draw 1-1. Will Atkinson levelled for the Stags in the 51st minute, after Danny Newton opened the scoring in the first-half.
Mansfield followed this with a local derby victory as Mal Benning scored a 66th minute winner against rivals Chesterfield at the Proact Stadium to give the Stags a deserved 1-0 win.
The opening 45 minutes ended goalless after a tight first-half in which neither side could find the breakthrough. Mansfield’s best chance came in the 19th minute. Danny Rose was picked out in the Chesterfield area, but saw his first-time effort saved by Aaron Ramsdale in the Spireite goal.
Chesterfield’s best chance came in the 27th minute when Zavon Hines looked to have been presented with a tap in only for Alfie Potter to slide in and deny him.
Saturday the 21st saw the Stags share a point with Port Vale at One Call Stadium despite a dominant performance. Stags took a deserved lead through Kyle Howkins own goal, but Tom Pope’s late equaliser meant frustration for Town.
For Mansfield to make the play-offs they need to win their final game at home to Crawley, and for either Lincoln or Coventry to lose. This would allow Mansfield into the play-offs on either goal difference or goals scored.
Hinckley Rugby Club
Hinckley finished the season in a very creditable 5rd place after three wins in their last four games.
A 26-0 win over Stourbridge started the month well with tries from Ben Marshall, David Peck, Mitch Lamb and Joe Glover. Joe Wilson added three conversions to give the Hornets a comfortable win against the side who finished fourth.
Following that impressive display, a lack-lustre performance in a 44-19 defeat to a Wharfedale side battling at the wrong end of the table was distinctly disappointing. Dale were certainly the hungrier, showing the fighting spirit required of a side embroiled in a relegation dog fight. Tries from Gareth Turner, Joe Glover and Joe Wilson, who also kicked two conversions were Hinckleys scorers.
It does seem that Hinckley enjoy playing the better sides in the league. They stepped up several gears to demolish a strong Chester side 40-24 at Leicester Road. Aggressive defending, a scrum that dominated the much vaunted Chester eight, and some slick interplay between backs and forwards saw the Hornets run in six tries to Chester’s four. Alex Salt collected a hat-trick of tries. Joe Glover, Jamie Skerrit and Connor Bullivant also went over. Joe Wilson added 5 conversions to round off the Hinckley scorers.
The Hornets first half performance against Blaydon seemed to show that they could turn up against the weaker sides. A bonus try point within 20 minutes and a 33-5 half-time lead had some of the local support declaring Hinckley the best they’d seen all season.
However, a second-half collapse saw Blaydon score 31 points without reply to take the lead with just 5 minutes left. It was literally the last play of the match which saw Hinckley regain the lead and take the points. Mark Deville grabbed the all-important try to devastate the home side. Josh Smith, George Marsden, Alex Salt, Mitch Lamb all collected tries in the rampant first half performance.
Before the season started a top six place would have satisfied most. However flirtations with the top of the table means there may be a slight taste of disappointment. The team can certainly take pride from some great performances this season. Few will look forward to a trip to The Hornets next season.