Under-23's 11/01/2019

U23 Report & Reaction: Watford 3-0 Colchester

By Kevin Affleck

Hayden Mullins was one very satisfied coach after watching the club's Under-23 side back up the eye-catching win over Queens Park Rangers by beating Colchester United with plenty to spare at Wingate & Finchley FC.

The teenage Hornets produced the result of their season to beat a high-riding and highly-experienced QPR side in their own backyard on Monday afternoon and it was always going to be interesting to see if they could show it was no flash in the pan or if it was going to be a case of after the Lord Mayor's Show. 

In front of Sporting Director Andy Scott, the Under-23 side showed they are starting to add a bit of consistency to their youthful promise by recording back-to-back Professional Development League wins for the first time this season. In fact, goals from Michael Folivi, Harry Forster and Dan Phillips secured their fourth win in their last eight matches.

"It caps off a very good week after the QPR result," said Mullins, the club's Lead Under-23 Professional Development Coach. "That was a good result and we performed well against a very experienced QPR side. The lads backed it up today with three goals and a clean sheet. It was very pleasing."

The Hornets dominated from start to finish and it was hard to recall first-year scholar 'keeper Dante Baptiste making a save. Forster created the first for Folivi, scored the second himself and then teed up Phillips for the third in the second half. It would have been four had Folivi not missed a second-half penalty.

Just as pleasing would have been the third clean sheet of the season, achieved despite Lewis Gordon coming off just after half-time and Harry Hudson, the centre-half already playing out of position at right-back, moving to the unfamiliar position of left-back.

"The challenge is to always play the way you want and I think we know that if we approach games in the right way and we get the kind of performance and focus from the boys, we are happy regardless of the result," said Mullins.

"I didn't think we started the game too well. Even though we went 1-0 up, we looked sloppy and we had a chat at half-time. We said we needed to raise it and we looked a lot better in the second half. The tempo went up, the way we passed was better, we got down the sides well and we could have got a few more goals."

The lively Forster had one first-half effort saved by the 'keeper's legs, smashed the left-hand post with another, had one cleared off the line, saw a close-range header from Ryan Cassidy saved and watched Folivi miss a one-v-one the striker would normally convert. 

"Harry is very bright and lively," said Mullins about the forward who signed a professional deal in June. "He's a good player who likes to be on the ball and affect the opposition. He has done brilliantly. We speak about getting his end product up as if he is going to be the player he wants to be, he's going to be judged on goals and assists. He needs to continue to work on his game, but he has been fantastic today."

Forster, 18, has this season played wide on the right, wide on the left and in the hole behind Folivi and Cassidy like he did today against the U's. He seems comfortable on either foot, has a good turn of pace and is not afraid to have a crack at goal.

"He can play any role across the midfield areas and in the wide areas, too," said Mullins. "He just needs to keep developing his game and try to be a threat. If he does that, and keeps working on his end product, then someone is always going to have a keen eye on him."

HORNETS: Baptiste; Hudson, Mukena, Leighton, Gordon (Tricker 54); Sankoh (Adebiyi 72), Charles (C), Phillips (Holsgrove 82); Forster, Cassidy, Folivi.

Subs not used: Hoskins (GK), Suckling.

Ladies 11/01/2019

Ladies: Cardiff City Preview

Watford FC Ladies return to league action for the first time in almost two months this Sunday, with a trip to Cardiff City Ladies.

While the Golden Girls have enjoyed success recently in the SSE Women’s FA Cup, they haven’t had a game in the FA WNL since the 1-0 victory over Chichester City Ladies on November 18.

Cardiff were the opponents on the opening day of the season, when Watford were victorious 5-2. Since that early defeat the Welsh side have shown what they can be capable of, winning five of their last eight league games.

Views from the Head Coach

It would be understandable for the side to still be on a high from the previous game, where Watford scored seven in a competitive fixture for the first time in more than a decade.

Armand Kavaja knows that his side will need to be focused on the job at hand this weekend.

“It was a fantastic performance against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, but this is a different competition and it requires focus and a different type of motivation to continue to perform week by week,” he told watfordfc.com.

“We had a very good performance against Cardiff at the start of the campaign, but they did cause us trouble going forward, therefore we must be focused and disciplined defensively like we were against Chichester.

“Cardiff have a good midfield who create good opportunities for their strikers, so we must eliminate their time and space on the ball in central areas.

“We have had a look at their recent games and you can clearly see that they have grown as a team. They have had a few good results recently and will be a more confident side, they’ve also strengthened their squad with some good players.

“We have to stay focused and disciplined out of possession and continue to play our game when we have the ball.”

One of the big reasons behind Watford’s success so far this season has been the form on the road, with five wins out of six so far.

The Head Coach believes all of the attention to detail makes a difference.

“When we travel away, we have the whole group on the coach,” explained Kavaja. “This allows for everyone to talk and bond together.

“At the same time, it allows for the coaching staff to have one-to-ones with the players, discussing their roles and responsibilities for the game with good detail.”

Hosts

It seems a long time ago that the two teams met on the opening day of the campaign. Watford were successful that day, winning 5-2 thanks to a hat-trick from Helen Ward and two goals from Andrea Carid.

Having suffered a rare disappointing season in 2017/18, Cardiff didn’t let it happen again. They won their next five games and scored 22 in the process, that included three league victories and progression to the last 16 of the FA WNL Cup.

The run was eventually halted as they lost 1-0 to a Chichester side in fine form. Suddenly goals were proving difficult to find as a 1-1 draw and a 1-0 loss followed in subsequent league games.

In their last five matches, they’ve again picked up some form. During that time, they’ve won their previous two in the league and progressed to the fourth round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup. The only loss in that period was a bit of a heartbreaker as they exited the FA WNL Cup to Loughborough Foxes, despite having a 3-0 half-time lead.  

They currently lie fifth in the league with a 5-1-3 record. Postponements due to international duty do mean they have games in hand, with as many as three on some teams.

Remarkably this will be Cardiff’s six consecutive home game and it’s been an area of strength this season, not losing a single game in 90 minutes so far. With Watford’s 5-0-1 record away from home, it has all the ingredients for a potential cracker this weekend.

Last time out

Middlesbrough 2-7 Watford

Team: Baranowska, Hallsworth (Baker, 66), Edwards, Hill, Huggins, Scanlon (Kettle, 82), Stojko-Down, Fatuga-Dada, Carid (Bell, 51), O’Leary, Ward (C)

Goals: Scanlon (7), Ward (10, 20, 81, 84), O’Leary (39), Hallsworth (61)

Cardiff 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

Team: O'Sullivan, Williams, Guard, Lawrence (C), Morgan, Jumratie, Cerys Jones, Isaac (Graham, 65), Miles (Emma Jones, HT), Nolan, Horrell

Goals: Williams (7), Nolan (15)

Information

Cardiff City Ladies v Watford FC Ladies
FA WNL
Sunday January 13
2pm
CCB Centre for Sporting Excellence
CF82 7EP