Under-18's 03/09/2018

U18 Report: Watford 5-3 Burnley

By Danny Varsalona

Watford’s Under-18s produced a clinical performance as they battled back to win 5-3 against Burnley, despite playing more than 70 minutes with 10 men. 

The Young Hornets had to dig deep against a physical Burnley side -dealing with a number of dangerous crosses and set pieces throughout. 

Burnley opened the scoring, albeit controversially. Watford Keeper James Hoskins seemed to be fouled whilst jumping for the ball, but Michael Fowler nodded the ball home anyway after a deep corner was headed back across goal. 

It looked like an even harder task for the Hornets after Hoskins was shown a straight red card for handling the ball outside the area – but the Golden boys responded well, grabbing the equaliser soon after. 

Some high pressure led to a mistake from the Burnley keeper that was pounced on by the home side – and Sam Sesay calmly finished under pressure from inside the box just before the half-hour mark. 

But, Burnley’s set-piece prowess struck again – after a low free-kick was turned in at the second time of asking by Kian Yari following a good save from substitute keeper, Dante Baptiste.

But Watford’s resilience showed and moments before half-time they got their equaliser. Sesay jinked and shimmied on the edge of the area before curling an effort off the inside of the post – but Sonny Blu-Lo Everton had followed play in and was on hand to chip the ball over the diving ‘keeper from the rebound. 

It was 2-2 at half time and whatever was said in the dugout clearly made an impact, as the young Hornets came out revitalised and started the second half the stronger of the two sides.

And, it didn’t take them long to take the lead for the first time in the game – Jayden Bennetts finishing brilliantly into the bottom corner following a lovely run after Watford won the ball in midfield.

It was nothing less than Watford deserved, who had adapted to Burnley’s game plan, even with 10 men, as they began to relax on the ball and control the game. 

The fourth came through Bennetts again, this time neatly slotting the ball across the goalkeeper in the left-hand corner after more impressive build-up play. 

The Clarets remained dangerous, however, – a cross from the left saw a Clarets attacker head the ball onto the bar – a timely reminder of what the away side could produce. 

But, it was Watford who grabbed the next goal- a sweeping counter-attack saw Dom Hutchinson neatly dink the ball over the diving Burnley ‘keeper, following a smart stop – rounding off a clinical performance from the Hornets. 

Incredibly the scoring wasn’t over, as the away side grabbed the final goal of the game – a consolation - in the 94th minute, as another cross was nodded in off the post by centre-half Bobby Thomas.

HORNETS | Hoskins (GK) (Red Card, 14), Langston (Baptise (GK), 19), Mullins, Burchell, Matthews (Janijeva, 45), Suckling, Blu-Lo Everton (Trialist, 81), Trialist, Sesay, Hutchinson, Bennetts.

Subs not used | Sanders, Trialist.

Ladies 03/09/2018

Ladies Report: Watford 2-1 Poole Town

By Chris Smith

Watford FC Ladies progressed to the FA WNL Cup with a narrow 2-1 win in an entertaining encounter with Poole Town Ladies on Sunday (September 2)

The Hornets took the lead when Linda Afuakwah finished from close range, but the hosts responded through Faye Rolfe-Hawkins and the scores were level at break.

Watford dominated the second half, but struggled to find a way past a resilient Poole side who were helped by the inspired Samantha Chrippes in goal. The winner did eventually come in the 86th minute as Leanne Bell’s cross was turned into her own net by Lauren Jones.

There were nine changes to the side the faced Loughborough Foxes last time out with only Samantha Hallsworth and Katie O’Leary keeping their places.

Armand Kavaja’s starting line-up included four players making their competitive debuts for the Golden Girls. Afiya Johnson and Anna Re were selected in the full-back positions, while Holly Greenwood and Katie Akerman featured in the middle of the park.

Laura Baker had the first attempt for Watford but her shot from inside the box was just over the bar. Roschelle Shakes then tried to play in O’Leary but Chrippes was alert to the danger.

Poole had a slight opening when Samantha Gubb was in space, but she dragged her shot wide of the left-hand post.

The breakthrough for Watford came in the 25th minute. O’Leary’s effort hit the post and went across goal where Afuakwah was in the right place at the right time to tap home.

It could have been two shortly after as Johnson burst forward into the box, but her shot was well saved by Chrippes at her near post.

Just after the half hour mark, the hosts got the equaliser. A ball was played through to Rolfe-Hawkins and she showed good composure to slot it into the bottom right hand corner.

With 40 minutes on the clock, Watford had two opportunities to restore their lead. Afuakwah’s burst of pace down the right gave her a chance but Chrippes again produced a good save at her near post. From the resulting corner, Baker powered a header just off target.

Both sides were limited in terms of clear cut chances in the opening 15 minutes of the second half -  O’Leary’s poked effort was saved for Watford and Rebecca Miles’ free-kick went over for Poole.

O’Leary then had another strike saved by Chrippes while Weronika Baranowska had to be alert to the danger down the other end as she was quick off her line to prevent any opportunity.

In the final twenty minutes, the Hornets really turned up the pressure. Chrippes produced her best save to that point when she pushed away Baker’s effort who had made a fine run in the build-up to the chance.

Leanne Bell was introduced into the action and it was that change that made the difference. Her first major involvement saw her go on a mazy run past a couple of defenders before dragging a shot wide.

Extra-time was looming, but with just under five minutes of the 90 to go, Watford finally re-took the lead. Bell was involved as she put a teasing cross into a dangerous area and Jones diverted it into her own net.

Less than a minute after the goal it could have been three. Anaisa Harney beat a couple of players and then fired an effort that hit the post.

Chrippes was brilliant for the hosts in goal and she saved her best stop until stoppage time. It looked almost certain that Afuakwah would put the game beyond doubt, but she was denied by a fantastic save.

While the third goal wouldn’t come, it was still a good victory in a tough cup tie for Watford. The Golden Girls will now be involved in the FA WNL Cup thanks to this result.

GOLDEN GIRLS | Baranowska (GK), Re (Peck, 46), Hallsworth, Kettle, Afiya Johnson, Greenwood, Akerman, O’Leary © (Bell, 72), Baker, Afuakwah, Shakes (Harney, 59).

Sub not used | Stojko-Down.

Goals | Afuakwah (25), Jones OG (86).


DOLPHINS | Chrippes (GK), Witherington, Fowell, Ellwood (Jones, 60), Miles, Towers, Rolfe-Hawkins, Chalk (Marshallsay, 87), Paynter, Gubb (Yeo, 64), Agombar.

Goals | Rolfe-Hawkins (33).