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)
(Photo by AW Images)