Ladies 31/10/2017

Ladies | Watford 1-1 Spurs

Report by Tom Low

The Golden Girls earned their first point of the season on Sunday, drawing 1-1 against Tottenham Hotspur Ladies in a battling encounter at Kings Langley. 

Adekite Fatuga-Dada had given her side the lead early on in the second half but Lucia Leon grabbed an equaliser for the visitors on the hour.

It was an incredibly entertaining match that was witnessed by 579 in attendance, the third highest for Watford since the inception of WSL2 and the highest away from Vicarage Road. 

Spurs started well and pressured Watford in the early stages, the Hornets somehow managing to clear after Wendy Martin’s close-range effort had struck the post.

The Golden Girls quickly switched on as a good passing move fell to the feet of Bianca Bragg who saw her long-range effort fizz just past the post.

Watford were presented with a chance to take the lead after Rinsola Babajide beat the Tottenham defender with a stunning bit of tricky and was then swiped down inside the penalty area. Babajide stepped up to take it but saw her penalty rebound off the post as she looked for the bottom corner.

Watford almost took the lead before the end of the first half when Danielle Puddefoot’s powerful long-range effort cannoned back off the crossbar.

Keith Boanas’ side came out looking sharp and took the lead after 54 minutes. A superb ball was whipped into the box towards Fatuga-Dada who beat Toni-Anne Wayne in the Tottenham goal with a fantastic volley.

Spurs replied quickly to the set-back. A free-kick towards the near post wasn’t cleared and the ball landed at the feet of Leon who cleverly back-heeled it into the net to make it 1-1.

There was pressure being applied by the away side as a well worked corner routine was headed just wide. Former Hornet Sarah Wiltshire then hit a powerful shot which called Fran Kitching into action, the keeper making a spectacular save to divert the ball over the crossbar.

Watford came close to re-taking the lead when Puddefoot’s curling free-kick forced Wayne into action to keep it level.

Lilli Maple had come on as a substitute and almost made an immediate impact. She flicked the ball onto Merrick Will who broke away from the Spurs defence but her shot was fired narrowly wide of the right hand post.

Tottenham came close to getting a late winner when Wiltshire was played in but Kylie McCarthy did just enough to force the effort to hit the post.

Both teams were unable to take advantage of chances at the end as a physical and enthralling encounter drew to a close.

WATFORD | Kitching (GK); Nuttall, McCarthy, Jones, Fatuga-Dada (Cudone, 83), Kerr; Will, Puddefoot, Bragg (Maple, 80); Babajide, Murray (Ward, 83).

Subs not used: Baranowska, McKeag, Neal, Petkova.

Goal: Fatuga-Dada (54)

Yellow Cards: Jones (43), Babajide (69), Nuttall (73)

Attendance: 579

(Photo by AW Images)


Under-23 Report | Watford 2-0 Bristol City

Watford Under-23s moved up to fifth in the Professional Development League South with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Bristol City this afternoon.

Hayden Mullins’ side put in a solid display against the Robins, claiming back-to-back home wins for the first time this season.

An own-goal by Robins defender Cameron Pring and an excellent solo effort from Randell Williams were the difference between the two sides at London Colney.

Goalkeeper Nathan Gartside impressed throughout and made some excellent saves to earn a deserved clean sheet for the Hornets.

It was a quiet opening 15 minutes with neither side able to get into a strong rhythm. The hosts moved the ball around nicely in the opening stages, trying to use the width of their wing-backs to their advantage.

Connor Stevens was making his first appearance following a lengthy injury

However, the first chance after 14 minutes went Bristol City’s way, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans' free-kick smartly tipped over by Watford stopper Gartside.

There was another impressive save from Gartside midway through the first-half as Rory Holden found his way onto the end of a long ball, and the Northern Irishman was out quickly to keep the game level.

The hosts took the lead just before the half-hour mark after some brilliant play by Dion Pereira down the right-hand side. He beat his man and his low cross was turned into his own net by Pring, with Michael Folivi waiting to pounce. 

Watford nearly doubled their advantage 10 minutes later, a lovely run and clever through ball by Joy Mukena put Williams through on goal, but the front-man's effort was saved by Bristol City keeper Jojo Wollacott down low to his right. 

The Hornets continued to cause Bristol City problems as half-time approached. Centre-forward Folivi created some space for himself on the edge of the Robins' box but his low drive was saved by Wollacott. 

Watford continued to push forward in the early stages of the second-half and Andrew Eleftheriou rattled the post from a tight angle after a scramble inside the box. However, only moments later the impressive Gartside was called upon again for the hosts as he stopped Jake Andrews' powerful effort at his near post. 

Ex-Palace attacker Randell Williams fired home his first goal since arriving over the summer

Williams doubled the Hornets' lead just before the hour-mark as he grabbed his first goal of the season. He showed blistering pace down the right-hand side before cutting inside and firing past Wollacott at the near post.  

Alex Jakubiak made his return from injury after just over an hour. The 21-year-old forward saw a late effort sail wide of the target as the minutes ticked on to the final whistle. 

HORNETS | Gartside (GK); Stevens, Rowan, Mukena; Eleftheriou (C), Charles, Stewart (Ryan, 72), Mason (Rogers, 80); Pereira; Folivi (Jakubiak, 62), Williams.

Subs not used | Hoskins (GK), Sesay.