Women: Sunderland Preview

By: Watford FC Staff

The Golden Girls will be looking to continue their impressive recent form when they host Sunderland AFC Ladies this Sunday (November 14 – 3:30pm KO).

Watford have taken four points from their last two games, coming back to draw against Crystal Palace and then winning on the road at Lewes last weekend.

The Hornets will now look to build on that even further as they play at Kings Langley FC for the first time this campaign, with Clinton Lancaster’s side starting a run of three home fixtures in eight days.

First up is Sunderland, with the Lady Black Cats making the long trip down from the north east. The two teams have had some good battles over the years and this Sunday promises to be no different.

Women’s Football Weekend

The Sunderland fixture is a part of Women’s Football Weekend, with the game kicking off at 3:30pm in order to maximise exposure of all fixtures. There are a couple of initiatives in place, that will allow our brilliant supporters to get great value for money.

With this Sunday’s fixture being the first of three consecutive home matches, we’ve created the ‘Kings Langley Treble’.

We know that so many games in a short span isn’t easy financially, especially with a family. If you want to attend all three matches, we’ve put further discounts in place, which will basically allow you to watch one match completely for free.

More information regarding this deal can be found here.

It’s not the only great offer that we’ve put in place. Want to wear the kit just like your favourite players? The women’s home shirt will be discounted by 25 per cent over the course of the weekend (November 12 to November 14).

Interested? You’ll be able to find the deal here from Friday (November 12).

Guide To Kings Langley

Visiting The Orbital Fasteners Stadium for the first time or potentially need a refresher on things?

We’ve put together a helpful guide with all the information that you’ll need ahead of your visit this weekend.

Views From The Head Coach

It’s been a positive couple of weeks at Watford. Lancaster knows it’s now about continuing to build on previous successes as we return to the Orbital Fasteners Stadium for a run of home fixtures, starting with Sunderland.

“It’s all about continuing what we’ve been doing so far. We’re slowly getting there, but we're not getting too ahead of ourselves,” the Head Coach told watfordfc.com before the match.

“We just want to continue with this run that we’re on, but we’ll obviously take each game as it comes.

“We’re looking forward to getting back to Kings Langley, as we’ve had some good memories over the last few years and we’re always well looked after.

“The support will be huge for us. We really need to get as many fans down there as possible. We hope that we can put in some good performances for the home fans and that plenty come down to make lots of noise and cheer the team on.”

One of the key aspects of the recent positive results has been the impact made from those on the bench, something the Head Coach is keen to continue.

“It’s good to have so many players to turn to, we’ve got an excellent squad,” Lancaster explained. “That was the plan at the start of the season, to build a strong squad.

“We’ve still got players who are out injured that will come back as well, but the girls who have come off the bench have made an impact.

“One thing I’ve always said to the players is that if you’re on the bench and you come on, you’re expected to make an impact. They’ve certainly done that over the last couple of games.”

Sunday’s match-up will be between two teams who have been recently promoted to the FA Women’s Championship. Lancaster is fully prepared for the visit of Sunderland.

“They’ll be a good side, defensively they’re well organised,” he said. “They’re a well-structured team out of possession and they’ll probably look to play really quickly when they’ve got the ball and try and hurt us as quickly as they can.

“We’ll just have to be patient when we’ve got the ball and find ways to break them down, which I’m confident we’ll be able to do.”

Finally, what does the man in charge want to see from his side this weekend?

“I’d like us to get some points!” Lancaster exclaimed. “What I want to see is us just continuing with the performances we’ve been putting in.

“If we continue doing that and the work that we’ve been doing in training, then I feel confident we can get something from this game.”


It’s safe to say that Sunderland AFC Ladies have had a big influence on women’s football in this country, with several of their former players going on to play at international level – including some marquee names.

They’re a side that Watford have enjoyed some intriguing encounters with over the years, in particular in 2012/13.

That was during the middle of a period of dominance by Sunderland. Having not been awarded a place in the inaugural Women’s Super League (2011), the Lady Black Cats would go on to win four consecutive league titles.

With no promotion or relegation, it meant they finished top of the FA WNL National Division for three years on the spin. Watford were runners-up to Sunderland in the previously-mentioned campaign, with the two meetings both ending 2-2.

A restructuring of the women’s game for 2014 saw them given a licence for FA WSL 2. Their dominance of the second tier didn’t stop in a newly-created league, narrowly beating Doncaster Rovers Belles to the title and earning promotion.

It meant that after all their consistency over a number of years, they were finally back in the top tier of women’s football. They adapted well, finishing in fourth place in their debut campaign in the FA WSL.

Sunderland remained at that level for four seasons, and it would again be off-the-field decisions rather than on-the-field matters that saw them drop down – two divisions in fact, to the FA Women’s National League.

After finishing in second in 2018/19, they were well on course for promotion to the second tier in 2019/20, until the pandemic intervened. Although they weren’t as strong in the following interrupted campaign, they were still the best side over those two years, and it was no surprise when they were awarded a place, along with Watford, back in the Championship.

It’s been a mixed bag so far, with the team having a 3-2-3 record after eight games. While they’ve been solid defensively, they’ll be hoping to find a bit more fire power in front of goal, having only netted more than once in a single league game this season.

Keira Ramshaw is their captain and has now been at the club for more than a decade, while at the back, the vastly experienced Grace McCatty has played every minute in the league so far this season. They’re a side though that blends experience and youth, with several teenagers already making a big impact.

Ticket Information

Tickets for this game are priced at £12 for adults and £5 for concessions (65+, student, under 18). A £2 discount is available if you're a Watford FC Season Ticket holder.

These are available to purchase either online or on the day (inside the clubhouse).

Please note: If you're planning to attend all three of our upcoming home games, it will work out much cheaper to buy the Kings Langley Treble.

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