Under-18's 02/12/2019

Under-18: Coventry City 1-2 Watford

A young Under-18s side dug in and took their chances to pick up a 2-1 away win at Coventry City and keep them second in the Under-18 Professional Development League on Saturday.

Five Under-16s started and nine were on the pitch during the second half, as multiple regular starters were rested ahead of an important FA Youth Cup tie at Fleetwood Town on Tuesday night.

The young Hornets stepped up though, with Tom Horsewood scoring a goal in each half to earn an away win.

The opening goal came in the 10th minute when Watford attacked down the left flank, with a cross finding Horsewood in the six-yard box and the forward making no mistake.

Simon Clark’s side led at the break but had to substitute more regular Under-18s ahead of the midweek match, meaning the second-half team was even less experienced.

Shortly after the hour mark the hosts were level, when a penalty was awarded against Ryan Andrews for handball despite the ball hitting him from very close range.

However, the young Watford side battled back and went down the other end to score in the 85th minute.

A great ball from Ben Smith found Freddie Moriarty, who flicked the ball to Enoch Muwonge for the forward to play in Horsewood for his second.

Clark’s team shut the game out to earn a ninth league victory of the season.

“It’s a fantastic victory for the football club and the Academy, because our Under-16s have come in and worked really hard,” said Clark.

“You can generally cater for one or two Under-16s in the team, but when you’re playing half a game with nine, you generally get a lot of turnovers and you’re less cohesive. Their work rate was fantastic.”

The Lead Coach said his side had a tough task competing with the older opposition, but praised their application and said the experience would only help their development.

“Obviously they’re physically a bit short against the opposition so it’s really tough in the duels, because some of those boys are playing against people who are three years older than them, and that’s huge at that age,” said Clark.

“But we played some good periods of decent football and it’s really good for them to understand the demand that we put on them and the levels of performance that we want.”

HORNETS: Marriot (GK); Andrews, Evans, Sankoh, Trialist, Janjeva, Smith, Thompson, Horsewood, Muwonge, Manning.

Subs: Hill, Hudd, Hunter, Forde.

Images: Franziska Empl

Ladies 02/12/2019

Ladies: Keynsham Town 0-3 Watford

For the second time in three weeks, Watford faced Keynsham United on Sunday, and this time it was away from home and in the Women’s FA Cup second round.

It is always difficult to face the same team twice in close proximity, as both sides will have learnt a lot about the other. Even after a convincing 7-0 win last time, Lancaster and his team knew it was unlikely to be the same outcome.

This seemed to show, as at half time it was all level without goals from either side. Lancaster knew he had to be patient, and once again it was a winning second half performance from the Golden Girls with a 3-0 victory.

The game started in a predictable fashion, with Watford enjoying a lot of possession and Keynsham holding firm and doing all they could to avoid being broken down.

The home side could have taken the lead during the first half as some uncharacteristically lazy possession gave their forwards more opportunities than they should have been allowed.

Helen Ward could, and probably should, have opened the scoring on more than one occasion but just couldn’t get the right finish after good balls forward from Megan Chandler, Danielle Scanlon and Emma Beckett. Andrea Carid and Katie O’Leary also had efforts from outside the box, but the Keynsham goalkeeper wasn’t worked nearly enough, the only real save of note coming after an excellent corner from Elle Richards was met by Beckett on the volley which was tipped over the cross bar.

Some strong words at half time from the Head Coach had the desired effect as almost immediately after the break Watford counter-attacked with pace and purpose and, after Carid’s mis-hit shot, Ward could only hit her effort up and over the bar before seeing a header go agonisingly wide just moments later.

The Golden Girls kept probing, however and were beginning to cause the home side a lot of problems, especially in the wide areas with Ryah Vyse and Adekite Fatuga-Dada getting up and down either flank to get balls into the box.

The all-important first goal eventually arrived in the 63rd minute when Beckett whipped a dangerous ball into the box. O’Leary got up highest and flicked it into the top corner under pressure from the defender. There was a feeling that the goal was coming, and the yellows were beginning to play some of their best football of the afternoon.

As is becoming a habit of late, once one goal has gone in, another one soon follows. Carid was the goal scorer in the 65th minute when, after some excellent team play down the left, the ball arrived at the Spaniard’s feet and she slotted home from around 12 yards out.

Watford were looking comfortable by this stage and, despite Kat Huggins having to clear a rare Keynsham effort off the line, it was the Hornets who got the third goal. Substitute Alysha Stojko-Down was played the ball by Fatuga-Dada and, after side-stepping the defender, slammed the ball into the roof of the net from 20 yards out. A great finish and nothing more than the team deserved after a much better second half performance.

Watford have been drawn at home to Plymouth in the third round of the FA Cup with the game to take place on Sunday January 5, 2020.

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)