First Team 14/01/2019

Highlights: Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford

See extended highlights of the Hornets' fantastic comeback win over Crystal Palace on their turf.

Ladies 14/01/2019

Ladies Report: Cardiff City 1-0 Watford

By Chris Smith

It wasn’t the return to league action that Watford FC Ladies would have wanted as Cardiff City Ladies won a tight encounter 1-0 at the CCB Centre for Sporting Excellence.

The Golden Girls enjoyed good periods of possession in the first half, but chances were at a premium. Cori Williams’ penalty after 20 minutes gave the hosts a one goal lead at the break.

A red card for Georgie Edwards midway through the second half saw Watford at a numerical disadvantage. It was one that couldn’t be overcome as a stubborn and solid Cardiff defence held firm and prevented the Hornets from taking any points home from South Wales.

Head Coach Armand Kavaja made two changes to the side that was victorious at Middlesbrough last time out. Laura Baker came in at left back in place of Kat Huggins, while there was one personnel change to the front four as Leanne Bell replaced Andrea Carid.

Watford began well and were on top of proceedings but were struggling to test Laura O’Sullivan in the Cardiff goal.

Alysha Stojko-Down showed some lovely footwork to create an opening but she couldn’t get her effort on target.

In the 19th minute, Cardiff were awarded a penalty. The tussle between Edwards and Grace Horrell began outside the box with both at it, but the contact continued inside the box and the referee deemed that the Watford defender had brought her down.

Williams stepped up to take it and she wasn’t put off by Weronika Baranowska, slotting it to the keeper’s right and putting her side in front.

Cardiff then had a glorious chance to double the lead, but Kavaja’s side were let off as Horrell shot wide from a great position.

The best chance of the half for Watford fell to Katie O’Leary after a good interchange between herself and Helen Ward. She got plenty on the strike, but O’Sullivan made a fine save to preserve the hosts’ lead at the interval.

It really should have been 2-0 early in the second half but Baranowska came up with a fantastic save. Williams was unmarked inside the six-yard box and got good contact on her header, but the Watford keeper managed to keep it out from point-blank range.

That fine stop could have been a key moment as the Golden Girls created openings down the other end shortly after. Bell’s cross came back off the bar, then Ward’s deflected effort hit the side-netting, and from the resulting corner Stojko-Down forced O’Sullivan into action but she held onto it well.

O’Sullivan then had to make her best save of the game just after the hour mark. Ward played O’Leary in and she tried to place it through the Cardiff keeper’s legs, but she managed to keep it out.

In the 67th minute of the game, Edwards was shown her second yellow card of the half. The Watford defender was trying to prevent an opportunity for Kylie Nolan, but she narrowly missed getting contact on the ball and the referee was left with no choice.

Nadia Lawrence got the resulting free-kick on target but Baranowska held it. There was now a little over 20 minutes to play to try and find an equaliser with a player down.

That could have arrived when a teasing near post cross from Ward was played towards Adekite Fatuga-Dada, however O’Sullivan just managed to get their first. Chances were proving hard to come by and O’Sullivan was only really called upon to make a save once more when Hattie Kettle had a shot from distance in the final minute of the 90.

It wasn’t to be for Watford as Cardiff held on to secure all three points. The Hornets will go again next Sunday as they travel to Plymouth Argyle Ladies.

GOLDEN GIRLS | Baranowska, Hallsworth, Edwards, Hill, Baker (Kettle, 70), Scanlon (Afuakwah, 86), Stojko-Down, Fatuga-Dada, Ward ©, Bell, O’Leary (Carid, 64)

BLUEBIRDS | O'Sullivan, Greenway, Guard, Nolan, Isaac (Rogers, 59), Emma Jones (Miles, 64), Williams, Horrell (Simpson, 90+1), Cerys Jones, Lawrence, Davies

Goal | Williams (20 – PEN)

Attendance | 175