Ladies 5 days ago

Ladies: C&K Basildon Preview

By Chris Smith

Watford will play two home games this week, with the first of those against C&K Basildon Ladies on Thursday night.

The Golden Girls have been in good form lately and will be looking to build on the tally of seven points from the last three games.

For C&K Basildon it’s been a season of struggle, with only two draws to their name in the league so far which sits them bottom of the table. The Hornets will know not to underestimate their opponents however, considering it took a late winner to secure the three points in the reverse fixture.

Views from the Head Coach

A postponement last weekend means it’s now been two and a half weeks without a game for Watford. That’ll soon be rectified with two games at Kings Langley within 72 hours this week.

“It’s always frustrating when games get postponed as you're always preparing and looking forward to playing them,” Armand Kavaja told watfordfc.com.

“We won’t really prepare differently as we don’t have much contact time with the players between the two games, which makes it hard to get things ironed out from the first fixture to the second one.

“We provide players with feedback and some match analysis from the game they have played, so they can see what they’ve done well and what they could do a little better on.

“Having a good squad definitely helps. We have always said to all the players that we will need everyone if we want to get through the season successfully. These situations are a good example of where we need everyone to play their part.”

After only just managing to get the win last time against C&K Basildon, Kavaja will be looking to see more from his side this time around.

“It was a frustrating match previously for a number of reasons,” he said. “We didn’t have everyone available for that game which made it tough.

“They were organised and sat deep during the whole game, while we made it really hard for ourselves in possession and forced play at times.

“We would like to see our girls make good decisions on the ball on Thursday and retain and recycle the ball whenever we get forward. Hopefully this will allow us to find different avenues to penetrate.”

The Visitors

Go back to this time last year and it hits home how much has changed at C&K Basildon over the last 12 months.

They were one of the best sides in this league in the last campaign, well in the mix for the title in March with only two losses to their name. Despite eventually recording 52 points in 22 games, it wasn’t enough as Charlton only dropped six points all season.

There was plenty of upheaval in the summer, with departures both on and off the pitch. This has resulted in a complete reversal of fortunes in 2018/19.

The season started poorly, they lost their opening two games heavily to Portsmouth and Cardiff City, while losing in the FA WNL Cup Determining Round to lower division opposition.

Things gradually seemed to be improving though, as C&K Basildon earned a very respectable draw away at Loughborough Foxes and while they lost subsequent matches in the league 3-1 and 5-3, they were competing well.

Two more losses followed against Coventry United and the 1-0 defeat to Watford, but a second point was earned in early October as they came back to draw 3-3 with QPR.

Since then they’ve lost nine on the spin in the league. One narrow defeat, six by a two-goal margin and heavy defeats to Coventry United and Cardiff for the second time.

C&K Basildon were also comprehensively beaten in the SSE Women’s FA Cup by Keynsham Town, their third defeat to a Step Four side after also losing to Ipswich Town in the FA WNL Plate.

The one cup competition they’ve enjoyed some success in is the Essex Women’s County Cup. Billericay will be their opposition in the final as C&K look to win the trophy for a sixth consecutive time.

Last time out

Loughborough Foxes 1-2 Watford

Team: Baranowska, Hallsworth, Kettle, Edwards, Peck (Bell, 55), Scanlon (Carid, 55), Stojko-Down, O’Leary (Richards, 77), Kikomeko, Fatuga-Dada, Ward ©

Goals | Ward (57), Stojko-Down (84)

C&K Basildon 0-6 Coventry United

Team: Walker, Bailess © (Horn, 65), Deacon, Debell, Gillard, Moore, Osborne (Whitehead, 60), Rhodes, Sillitoe, Thomas, Turner

Information

Watford FC Ladies v C&K Basildon Ladies

FA WNL

Thursday 14th March

7:45pm

Kings Langley FC

WD4 8BS

£6 Adults, £1 Under-18s, 50% off for Watford FC ST Holders

First Team 1 week ago

Affleck’s Angle: Best Laid Plans

Kevin Affleck gets his teeth into the weekend's big talking point...

You’d forgive Daryl Janmaat for feeling a little confused.

He’s been making a conscious effort to get much tighter to his man after he allowed Wilfried Zaha too much time and space to create two goals in a crazy finale at Selhurst Park in December 2017. He visited the issue again after Luciano Vietto did the same to him at Craven Cottage and then probably thought he really better raise his game further still after Étienne Capoue admonished him at full-time for turning his back for Heung Min-Son’s equaliser at Wembley. 

He was, as a result, splendid at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, showing the sort of form that saw Louis van Gaal pick him as the first-choice right-back in the Dutch team that finished third at the 2014 World Cup. Janmaat was as good as he was in the 2-1 home win over Spurs, if not better. 

In the blink of an eye during the first period on Saturday, he flicked one dangerous corner away, combined well with Kiko Femenía during one flowing move down the right, held up Raheem Sterling so Christian Kabasele could tackle him and then produced the intervention of the match to slide in and block Sterling after the England winger had streaked clear. It was the sort of highlights package you’d show to any aspiring right-back. 

“I have to say, in the first half especially, he played, very, very well,” said Ian Wright on Match of the Day.

With the incidents against Zaha and Vietto still very much in mind, he was touch tight to Sterling again at the start of the second period, aware that one lapse could allow the road-runner of a winger in on goal. He was there when Sergio Agüero chested a ball into the path of Sterling down City’s inside left channel. And yet, and here comes the killer bit, the bit where he is entitled to question what the coaches are telling him, he was better off giving up on the ball, risking the wrath of his coach and teammates and leaving Sterling to touch it first and go in on goal. Then, Sterling would have been flagged offside, no questions would have been asked and play would have restarted with no fuss whatsoever. Move on, nothing to see here.

The problems started when Janmaat made a challenge, which his instincts as a defender will have told him to do. This is what caused the confusion for referee Paul Tierney. It’s why he overruled his assistant Andy Holmes. But Janmaat's touch should have been rendered irrelevant as Sterling was active, interfering and, most crucially, two yards offside when Agüero played him in. 

Plenty waded into the debate over the weekend, but Jermaine Jenas probably nailed it in his analysis on Match of the Day. “He’s offside the minute he goes towards that ball,” he said. “That goal should not stand. My biggest worry is that the referee and the linesman have got a combined story and yet they’ve still got it wrong.”

Perhaps liberated by being miles away in a studio in Qatar for beIN Sports, Sam Allardyce was the most forthright of all the pundits. He really cut loose. “There is nothing to discuss, it’s offside,” he said. “It’s just creating controversy we don’t need in the game. This is an absolute nonsense. It’s clear Sterling is making a run for the ball. It completely shattered Watford. The referee has made an absolute howler of an error.”

Allardyce felt the decision opened up a wider debate about what he feels is clear bias towards the big boys. Watford, remember, were also denied a clear penalty at home to Liverpool.

“What would the referee have done at the other end if Watford had scored that goal? No chance [it would have stood]. They’d have gone, ‘It’s offside, let’s get on with it.’ They are swayed by the crowd and the size of the game.”

That’s something Technical Director Filippo Giraldi will no doubt bring up with the Premier League liaison for match officials this week. Tierney has apparently held his hands up afterwards, the Professional Game Match Officials offered an apology and even Pep Guardiola said sorry, but that was no use to Javi Gracia. The damage had already been done. His side had the rug pulled from underneath them and their game plan had been firebombed.

“It had a massive impact,” said Stephanie Houghton on BT Sport. “They played so well in the first half, denied City chances and to concede a goal like that, so soon after, it’s no wonder he [Gracia] sounded downbeat. All the planning he had done all week went to shreds.”

It says much about the state of the offside law right now that Ben Foster asked on Twitter within 15 minutes of the final whistle if anyone knew if the goal was offside. Sterling admitted he “didn't know quite what the issue was” when speaking to Match of the Day. “It’s madness,” said BT Sport anchor Jake Humphrey. “You had Raheem Sterling trying to explain the law to Andre Gray.”

Gary Lineker waded in on Match of the Day and believes “VAR would have sorted that out, I would imagine,” but the video assistant referee made such a hash of Manchester United’s winning penalty against Paris Saint-Germain that it’s difficult to have any faith in that system, either. “Starting to see what a massive change #VAR will bring,” tweeted Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish. “Lesson 1: get near penalty area, smack ball as hard as you can towards arms.”

Besides, the introduction of VAR next season will then make it difficult to compare eras. How many more penalties, for example, would Matt Le Tissier have scored in his career had he benefitted from the sort of decision Marcus Rashford got in Paris on Wednesday night? Graeme Swann reckons he wouldn’t have got nearly as many Test wickets as he did, had it not been for the introduction of DRS. 

The decision at City on Saturday didn’t rob the team of a point or three. As Guardiola said afterwards: “I’m sorry, it wasn’t luck. We won because we were much, much better.” He was dead right, although he did offer a little dig at the defensively-minded Hornets by claiming Gray played as a holding midfielder.

City would have won the game anyhow, but all we are asking for is a fair fight, a level playing field. The odds are already stacked in City’s favour given the money lavished on the team. They don’t need a helping hand. 

But, again, perhaps this is football’s way of evening itself out. Neil Warnock was incandescent at the failure to award a penalty the other Friday when the game with Watford was similarly delicately poised. He was right, it was a stonewaller. The identity of the perpetrator? Daryl Janmaat, showing just what a game of swings and roundabouts this beautiful game can be sometimes.