Watford FC Ladies return to league action for the first time in almost two months this Sunday, with a trip to Cardiff City Ladies.
While the Golden Girls have enjoyed success recently in the SSE Women’s FA Cup, they haven’t had a game in the FA WNL since the 1-0 victory over Chichester City Ladies on November 18.
Cardiff were the opponents on the opening day of the season, when Watford were victorious 5-2. Since that early defeat the Welsh side have shown what they can be capable of, winning five of their last eight league games.
Views from the Head Coach
It would be understandable for the side to still be on a high from the previous game, where Watford scored seven in a competitive fixture for the first time in more than a decade.
Armand Kavaja knows that his side will need to be focused on the job at hand this weekend.
“It was a fantastic performance against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, but this is a different competition and it requires focus and a different type of motivation to continue to perform week by week,” he told watfordfc.com.
“We had a very good performance against Cardiff at the start of the campaign, but they did cause us trouble going forward, therefore we must be focused and disciplined defensively like we were against Chichester.
“Cardiff have a good midfield who create good opportunities for their strikers, so we must eliminate their time and space on the ball in central areas.
“We have had a look at their recent games and you can clearly see that they have grown as a team. They have had a few good results recently and will be a more confident side, they’ve also strengthened their squad with some good players.
“We have to stay focused and disciplined out of possession and continue to play our game when we have the ball.”
One of the big reasons behind Watford’s success so far this season has been the form on the road, with five wins out of six so far.
The Head Coach believes all of the attention to detail makes a difference.
“When we travel away, we have the whole group on the coach,” explained Kavaja. “This allows for everyone to talk and bond together.
“At the same time, it allows for the coaching staff to have one-to-ones with the players, discussing their roles and responsibilities for the game with good detail.”
It seems a long time ago that the two teams met on the opening day of the campaign. Watford were successful that day, winning 5-2 thanks to a hat-trick from Helen Ward and two goals from Andrea Carid.
Having suffered a rare disappointing season in 2017/18, Cardiff didn’t let it happen again. They won their next five games and scored 22 in the process, that included three league victories and progression to the last 16 of the FA WNL Cup.
The run was eventually halted as they lost 1-0 to a Chichester side in fine form. Suddenly goals were proving difficult to find as a 1-1 draw and a 1-0 loss followed in subsequent league games.
In their last five matches, they’ve again picked up some form. During that time, they’ve won their previous two in the league and progressed to the fourth round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup. The only loss in that period was a bit of a heartbreaker as they exited the FA WNL Cup to Loughborough Foxes, despite having a 3-0 half-time lead.
They currently lie fifth in the league with a 5-1-3 record. Postponements due to international duty do mean they have games in hand, with as many as three on some teams.
Remarkably this will be Cardiff’s six consecutive home game and it’s been an area of strength this season, not losing a single game in 90 minutes so far. With Watford’s 5-0-1 record away from home, it has all the ingredients for a potential cracker this weekend.
Last time out
Middlesbrough 2-7 Watford
Team: Baranowska, Hallsworth (Baker, 66), Edwards, Hill, Huggins, Scanlon (Kettle, 82), Stojko-Down, Fatuga-Dada, Carid (Bell, 51), O’Leary, Ward (C)
Goals: Scanlon (7), Ward (10, 20, 81, 84), O’Leary (39), Hallsworth (61)
Cardiff 2-0 Bolton Wanderers
Team: O'Sullivan, Williams, Guard, Lawrence (C), Morgan, Jumratie, Cerys Jones, Isaac (Graham, 65), Miles (Emma Jones, HT), Nolan, Horrell
Goals: Williams (7), Nolan (15)
Cardiff City Ladies v Watford FC Ladies
Sunday January 13
CCB Centre for Sporting Excellence