Watford FC Ladies face Plymouth Argyle Ladies this Sunday (December 8) in a top-of-the-table clash. Clinton Lancaster’s side travel to Home Park Stadium in the hopes of extending their 11-game unbeaten run and retaining their place at the top of the league.
The weekend’s opponents will be one of the toughest the Golden Girls will face and are sure to be in the promotion mix come the end of the season. The Ladies go into the game knowing a victory will see them sit top of the league at Christmas, goal difference permitting.
Views from the Head Coach
Heading into the game, Lancaster remains focused on taking the season game by game and refusing to let the occasion get to him and his players.
“I would say this is our most important game of the season so far simply because it is the next game,” he said.
“Every game is the most important game of the season and this is the next one for us. It has the added significance that they are up there fighting for the league with us but it’s as important as any other league game for us so we need to be switched on and ready for this one.”
The Golden Girls have suffered several injuries in the opening months of the season but a return to fitness for the likes of Jenny Kikomeko has given the squad a boost.
“I’m not feeling worried or concerned, I’m feeling very confident with the squad that we have got,” the Head Coach added. “We’ve got players coming back from injury so we should have a full selection to choose from for this game.”
The Golden Girls are unbeaten in 11 games and Lancaster has been impressed with his side at both ends of the pitch.
“We’re on a really good run at the moment, I’m very pleased with how we are doing. I think it’s 11 games without defeat which is a fantastic run,” Lancaster said. “We’re scoring goals and not letting many in either. The clean sheet at the weekend was very important for us as well so it’s important we keep building on this and scoring goals.”
The Head Coach has confidence in his team, particularly in their attacking prowess. The Golden Girls have scored 35 league goals this season which is the most in the division.
“I’m confident if we can keep a clean sheet we will win most games because our scoring ratio at the minute is excellent. We just need to keep on defending well and working hard at the back because we have some very capable players going forward that will always give us a chance and score for us.”
Lancaster is aware of this weekend’s opponents’ strengths but is keen for his team to focus on their game.
“The girls obviously have to consider the fact that Plymouth are a good team and they’ve got some experience in their side. We know that and will work on everything that Plymouth have to offer,” he said. “The girls just need to go in there relaxed and ready to enjoy the game like they would any other game. We just need to make sure everyone is switched on, focused and prepared.”
Although the Golden Girls come into the game on an impressive unbeaten run, Lancaster does not see that as any additional pressure on his side.
“I think there’s pressure on every game we have. We come with the tag of an ex-Super League team in this division, it’s an established club so I think every single game we go in to there’s pressure,” he said. “The players should expect pressure in this game like every other game. People are probably expecting us to have a good season and be one of the top two in the league so there’s pressure on every game.”
“I don’t think there’s any added pressure, if anything there’s more on Plymouth as they are the ones at home,” Lancaster added. “They are the ones in their big new stadium with the home advantage so I think there’s more pressure on Plymouth than us. We need to just go into the game and enjoy it. That’s the most important thing, we must play our football and enjoy the game.”
“All the girls and the staff are up for it, it should be a good game. I just want us to play our football and show everyone what we can do and how good we are. We are all looking forward to the game. Everyone’s worked really hard so fingers crossed we can get the three points.”
Watford 3-2 Plymouth Argyle (May 5, 2018)
The Golden Girls ended the 2018/19 season with a home game against this weekend’s opponents in a five-goal thriller.
Adekite Fatuga-Dada opened the scoring before Katie O’Leary added her eighth of the season. The scoring was capped off by a wonderful goal finished off by Alysha Stojko-Down.
The win for the Golden Girls ensured they finished above Plymouth, having gone into the game only two points ahead.
Plymouth Argyle have played eight games so far this season, winning their last seven. They suffered defeat to Crawley Wasps in their opening game of the season but have bounced back by winning every league game since. Natasha Knapman is the league’s top goal scorer with 14 goals in eight league appearances and 20 in all competitions.
The Pilgrims finished sixth last season on 35 points, a place below the Golden Girls. They scored a total of 78 goals last season, however this season they are already on 56 before Christmas. Plymouth are only second to Watford in terms of goals scored in the league, having played four games fewer.
Last time out
Keynsham Town v Watford Ladies (0-3)
GOLDEN GIRLS | Wiggins, Hill, Vyse, Ward, Fatuga-Dada, Beckett, O’Leary (Huggins 76), Carid, Chandler (Stojko-Down 69), Scanlon (Kikomeko 55), Richards
GOALS | O’Leary (63), Carid (65), Stojko-Down (90)
Oxford United v Plymouth Argyle (3-4 AET)
PLYMOUTH | Bleazard, Burridge, Cunningham, Dandridge, Dover, Fannon, Huntley, Jackson, Knapman, Pollock, Taylor
Plymouth Argyle Ladies v Watford FC Ladies
Sunday 8th December, 2pm
Home Park Stadium