Huddersfield Town 5 – Derby County 2
Ellie White, Laura Elford, Kate Mallin (3)
Mallin Hat trick Gives Town Women First Win in Three
Kate Mallin scored a second-half hat trick to fire Huddersfield Town Women to a 5-2 win over Derby County Ladies at the Stafflex Arena.
Goals from Ellie White and Laura Elford gave the Terriers a 2-1 half-time lead before the skipper scored for the first time in three matches.
With just three minutes on the clock, Ellie Gilliatt’s intended cross caught ‘keeper Lauren Joyce of guard as the swirling wind carried to ball into the far corner of the net.
Going into the match, Town had lost their last two games – against Sunderland and Nottingham Forest – due largely to poor starts and the same happened against the Ewe Rams, too.
Having kept only one clean sheet so far this season, the omens weren’t good for Huddersfield, but their mental strength was second-to-none as they fought their way into the lead with two goals in as many minutes the game through Ellie White’s equaliser and Laura Elford’s long-range effort.
Beth Stanfield’s ball released Mallin down the right flank, giving her the opportunity to attack her marker one-on-one. Town’s skipper then turned her defender inside before laying the ball on a plate for White who slotted home from six yards just moments after going agonisingly close with a half-volley.
Straight from the restart, Huddersfield applied their usual high press and won the ball high up the field. Elford was then slid in behind the defence and produced a simply stunning lob to beat Leah Kellogg in the Derby goal whose hesitance to come off her line was punished in clinical fashion.
From then on, the home were imperious and, despite Derby’s best efforts, were far too good for their opponents.
Charley Evans returned from her three-match suspension to join Lauren Griffiths in holding midfield, leaving White to maraud forward at every opportunity.
Unbelievably, there were no further goals before the break, but the floodgates opened in the second forty-five and Mallin took full advantage.
Following a spell of Derby possession, Griffiths won the ball on the halfway line and played a beautifully incisive through ball into the path of Mallin, who had Elford alongside her in support.
Instead of squaring the ball for her strike partner, however, the captain used her as a decoy to round the Ewe’s shot-stopper before passing the ball into the empty net.
Wave after wave of attacking pressure followed from the hosts, but substitute Monique Watson manoeuvred space brilliantly on the edge of the Town box and finished into the bottom corner with aplomb.
But all this did was anger Huddersfield, who re-installed their two-goal cushion when Mallin thumped the ball home at the near post less than a minute after the away side thought they were back in the game.
This evidently popped Derby’s balloon and, as their defence tired, Mallin put the game to bed once and for all.
Substitute Sarah Danby surged down the left wing and delivered a peach of a cross for her captain who controlled the ball perfectly before dispatching her effort across the ‘keeper into the bottom corner to claim a hat trick to add to her two first-half assists.
The result serves as a much-needed confidence for Town and couldn’t come at a better time with no match next weekend whilst setting them in good stead for the visit of Burnley on October ninth.
The under 10’s and 12’s acted as mascots for the two teams and are pictured.
Match report by Jack Walker