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)

Under-23's 02/12/2019

Under-23 Preview: “They’ll Be Up For This Game”

By Kevin Affleck

Watford's Under-23s will have a further chance to gauge their progress this season when they take on holders Everton in the Premier League Cup tonight.

The Toffees did the league and cup double last season, beating Newcastle 1-0 in the final to go alongside winning Premier League 2, so they are a force to be reckoned with.

However, it is the Hornets who are in a strong position in Group B of the Premier League Cup, sitting second with four points and a game in hand on leaders Fulham. They know a win at the Pure Stadium in Southport tonight (7pm KO) would put them in with a great chance of reaching the knockout phase.

Academy Manager Richard Thomas and Head of Academy Barry Quin will take charge of the Under-23s for the tie, with Hayden Mullins in temporary charge of the first team.

“Everton is a good game for us,” said Mullins. “It's a side we don't usually play against and a game where we can see how far how we are away from those Cat 1 guys. This group of players is a good group, an exciting one and they'll be up for this game.”

The Hornets have picked up a 1-1 draw with Plymouth and a thrilling 4-3 win at Fulham so far in this competition while Everton only have a point from their two games.

“We've done okay,” said Mullins, whose side are top of the Professional Development League South Division. “We were disappointed with the Plymouth game as we played well and had so many chances. But we did really well against Fulham and we'll need to produce that type of performance again against Everton.”