First Team 24/04/2019

Masina: “We Need To Keep Going”

Adam Masina says Watford have the ability and character to affect games at any time after Andre Gray scored a 90th-minute equaliser to snatch a point against Southampton at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets had gone behind after just 7.69 seconds after Shane Long charged down Craig Cathcart’s clearance.

Gray almost levelled soon after only to see his effort saved by Angus Gunn, before Roberto Pereyra was also denied by the Saints’ glovesman.

But Watford refused to give up and finally earned a deserved point when former Burnley striker Gray lashed high into the net as the clock hit 90 minutes.

That was the Golden Boys’ 10th goal of the season scored in the 80th minute or later, and Masina sees that as a sign there is plenty of character and determination – not to mention fitness - within the dressing room.

“In the end we needed the point and the draw was a fair result,” said the 25-year-old.

“I thought Southampton was going to be a tough game, but it showed anything can happen [in the Premier League]. To concede so early was disappointing but things like that are a part of the game and they happen. We just had to hope that we could score by the end and thankfully we did it.

 “We just need to remember to keep going [in every game].”

There is a consistent desire to improve amongst Javi Gracia’s side as they bid to finish the season as high up the table as they can.

For Masina, who has made 19 league and cup appearances since his summer arrival from Serie A side Bologna, the final three league games of the campaign offer the Hornets a chance to build on their record points tally.

“We need to improve on our mistakes, for sure, but this is part of football,” said the former Italy Under-21 defender. “We need to work hard and try to avoid these situations.

“We need to get the three points [on Saturday] to achieve our goal of seventh place, so the Wolves game is an important one for us.”

Ladies 24/04/2019

Ladies: O'Leary On Gillingham Win

By Chris Smith

A header from Katie O’Leary just after the hour mark ensured Watford FC took all three points from their away game with Gillingham Ladies at the weekend.

It was a solid defensive display from the Golden Girls throughout, as they won away from home for the eighth time this season, with six of those coming in the league.

O'Leary was pleased with how she and her teammates dealt with late pressure to hold on to a 1-0 win away from home.

“It was a bit nervous towards the end, they got a few corners, but we dealt with it really well,” O’Leary told afterwards. “There were tired legs out there, it was really hot, and the pitch was quite hard. There are slight little niggles that people are picking up and they’re playing through it.

“It’s good that we can rotate the squad, put the young ones in and come up with a performance like we did in this environment, grinding out a good 1-0 win.

“It just shows we’ve got that experience in the team when we’ve got injuries, such as Helen [Ward] and G [Georgie Edwards] at the back - she’s quite vocal - and we didn’t have them today. Ade [Fatuga-Dada] was captain and she led from the first minute and everyone followed.

“We need to get as high up the table as possible in the last two games and start building for next season. All in all, a good performance and gets us ready for next year.”

One of the biggest aspects of the result was keeping a clean sheet, as a new look back four that contained Afiya Johnson and Elle Richards, kept Gillingham at bay.

“I think Elle’s done really well,” said O’Leary. “She’s come in after an injury and not played in her preferred position, but when she plays, whether it’s at full-back or centre-back, she just gets on with it and does a really good job. I thought she was outstanding today to be honest.

“Afiya as well has come up from the Under-23s, played 90 minutes and helped us keep a clean sheet. I think everyone at the back, including V [Weronika Baranowska], just did so well. Credit to the young ones that came up, they had to step in, and did a job.”

Down at the other end, it took Watford until the 63rd minute to make the breakthrough. There are no doubts that Leggy is claiming it!

“We had our chances in the first half and we weren’t very clinical,” O’Leary explained. “We knew that if we preserved and kept going, we would continue to create chances like we have throughout the season, and eventually, we would get the goal.

“In the second half, Ade has put a great ball in. I’m not quite sure if it was in already, we were just talking about it in the changing room, she asked about it and I said 'nah!'

“To make sure it was going in, I had to get my head on it. Not only was it a good ball in, it was a good team move in the build up to it.”

Only two games now remain in the 2018/19 campaign, as Watford will look to finish with a flourish in the games against C&K Basildon and Plymouth.

“The performance we’ve put in today will take us into those games with momentum. We want to continue that, while getting the injured players back, getting more Under-23s involved and hopefully managing a couple more wins!”