Ladies | Watford 1-3 Oxford United

Photo by AW Images

It was a disappointing afternoon for the Golden Girls as Oxford United took all three points with a 3-1 victory at Kings Langley on Sunday. 

Hannah Short gave the visitors the lead after only seven minutes and the advantage was doubled with a brilliant free-kick from Kayleigh Hines just after the half hour mark.

The deficit was reduced before the break as Sarah Jones’ first Watford goal put her side back in contention.

It was a second half of few opportunities but when one did present itself, Emily Allen made no mistake to give the U’s what proved to be a decisive two goal lead.

Another two new signings made their first competitive appearances for the club. Goalkeeper Fran Kitching and Kylie McCarthy were both handed starts having been unused subs last weekend against Millwall.

The other player to come into the side was Charlotte Kerr. Jo Fletcher, Simona Petkova and the suspended Laura-May Walkley made way.

Kitching was called into action early on, doing well to hold onto a stinging effort from Emily Donovan.

The Hornets got off to a dream start last weekend but this time it was the opposition celebrating an early goal. Danielle Carlton’s free-kick wasn’t cleared and Short managed to scramble the ball home.

At times in the first half, the U's looked comfortable in possession, however it nearly proved to be their downfall just before the half hour mark.

A string of passes were put together but eventually Merrick Will anticipated and won possession back in a dangerous area, she then got a low shot away but Demi Lambourne produced a very good save to prevent an equaliser.

Shortly afterwards, Oxford doubled their advantage. Hines and Carlton stood over a free-kick from 25-yards out, the former took it and struck a fantastic effort past Kitching.

It didn’t take Watford long to respond, only three minutes in fact. A corner was delivered to the back post and Jones was there to head home.

The Hornets then threatened from a set-piece again. It was a decent ball towards the near post this time, and Will got her head to the ball but it went over the bar.

There was a distinct lack of clear cut chances in the second 45, with neither side having many opportunities.

Rinsola Babajide tried a clever pass that would have put Bianca Bragg in a good position but it had just too much on it.

The crucial third goal for the away side came with just over ten minutes to play. Allen pounced on some slack play at the back and then found the back of the net with a near post effort.

Kitching had to be alert and brave to prevent the possibility of a fourth, getting to the ball before Oliver and taking a knock for her troubles.

While the keeper was fine to continue, there was nothing Watford could do to prevent Oxford from securing the victory.

GOLDEN GIRLS: Kitching (GK), Kerr, McKeag, Jones, Nuttall, Babajide, McCarthy, Bragg (Albert, 77), Sargent (Fatuga-Dada, 54), Will, Maple (Petkova, 80).

Subs not used: Fletcher, Puddefoot, Neal.

Goal: Jones (36)

Attendance: 170

First Team 02/10/2017

Holebas | “Everyone Is Believing”

In the aftermath of Saturday’s thrilling last-gasp leveller at West Brom, José Holebas pointed to Watford’s third stoppage time goal this season as evidence of the Hornets’ incredible belief and character.

“It says a lot,” the Greek left-back told watfordfc.com, referring to late strikes against the Baggies, Swansea and Liverpool.

“Everyone is believing, everyone wants to score and to make sure the team isn’t losing, and that’s a big point this year.”

It was another point gained on the road for Marco Silva’s men, and Holebas admitted closing down a two-goal deficit meant it felt more like three.

“It’s a big win – let’s say – for us, even if we have drawn,” he said.

“We were 2-0 down and to come back is hard, especially against West Brom. They work really well defensively, but in the end we did a good job and we believed.

“We scored the goal and we were fighting. We gave everything for the draw, and in the end we got it.

“It was amazing by the group and by the whole team. We worked really hard today.”

See more reaction from Holebas in the video below.