Ladies 1 month ago

Ladies: Watford 5-0 Plymouth

Watford FC Ladies’ first game of 2020 ended in a resounding victory in The Women’s FA Cup against Plymouth Argyle.

The Golden Girls dominated the game and spent the majority of their time camped in the Plymouth half. Ryah Vyse set the tone for the afternoon in the opening minutes by beating her opponent and hitting the post from range.

The game settled into a rhythm of Emily Hill and Ocean Rolandsen linking up along the right channel, putting threatening crosses into the box.

Finally, the pressure paid off for the Golden Girls in the 29th minute. Ocean Rolandsen’s cross was initially blocked but she was able to turn her defender to create some space. The winger floated a ball to the back post where Katie O’Leary finished.

Seven minutes later, O’Leary doubled the Hornets’ lead. Picking the ball up deep, the forward drove at Plymouth’s defence. A tightly-marked Helen Ward worked some space for O’Leary to play a one-two with her captain, who fed the ball perfectly through for a coolly slotted finish.

On the stroke of half-time, another marauding run from Rolandsen ended in her picking out Alysha Stojko-Down on the edge of the box. She connected with a fierce goal-bound strike, but Katie Middleton was in the way.

Minutes after the second half kicked off, O’Leary completed her hat-trick. Andrea Carid fought off her marker and knocked the ball past Lydia Huntley to give her a chance to hang the ball up to the back post. Yet again, O’Leary met the ball first and saw it home for her first hat-trick for the club.

Watford goalkeeper Chrissie Wiggins was called into action a few times at the start of the second half but she was equal to any effort that Argyle mustered. Faye Ivall worked a chance on the edge of the Hornets’ area but Wiggins’ quick feet helped her collect the ball.

Jenny Kikomeko was forced off after 52 minutes for Danielle Scanlon, after picking up an injury on her first start since the opening weekend of the season. The Golden Girls then brought on Adekite Fatuga-Dada for Ryah Vyse after her relentless 66-minute shift down the left wing.

The game remained 3-0 as the clock hit 90 minutes, but the hosts were not finished yet. In the fifth minute of added time, Ward made it four for the Golden Girls. Fatuga-Dada won a free kick just inside the Hornets’ half and quick-thinking Emma Beckett launched the ball over the Argyle defence to give the captain her chance. Ward had put in hard graft all game and, when the opportunity came, she made no mistakes to claim her goal.

Even then, there was more to come. Two minutes later, in the seventh additional minute, Scanlon completed the scoring for the Hornets. The midfielder picked up the ball on the edge of the Argyle area, shifted around the incoming defender and bent the ball over the 'keeper to find the back of the net.

The Golden Girls go through to the next round of The Women’s FA Cup, and the draw will take place on Monday January 6 at 5pm on TalkSport2.

HORNETS | Wiggins, Hill, Beckett, Richards, Vyse (Fatuga-Dada, 66), Rolandsen, Kikomeko (Scanlon, 52), Stojko-Down (Chandler, 79), Carid, Ward (C), O’Leary

GOALS | O’Leary (29, 36, 48), Ward (90+5), Scanlon (90+7)

First Team 1 month ago

Dele-Bashiru: “It Was Exciting To Show What I Can Do”

Tom Dele-Bashiru is determined to learn the lessons from the Emirates FA Cup third-round tie at Vicarage Road and finish the job he helped start against Tranmere.

The Nigeria Under-23 international helped put the Hornets in cruise control against the Merseysiders, marking his first start for the club with the opening goal at Vicarage Rod. Nathaniel Chalobah and Roberto Pereyra then found the back of the same part of the net with left-footed strikes and the game looked done and dusted after 37 minutes.

But, roared on by their magnificent support, Tranmere staged a stunning recovery, scoring three times in the last 25 minutes to force a replay at Prenton Park and take the gloss off Dele-Bashiru's big day.

"It was a good feeling to get my first goal as I've been working hard in training and it was exciting to show what I can do," the 20-year-old said on Added Time. "But the result wasn't what we wanted. We kind of lost our organisation in the second half.

"In the first half it went well, we had possession of the ball but they changed formation in the second half, they pressed us high up and we were forced to kick it long at times and give them the ball. We could have dealt with the pressure better and created more options for each other on the ball. But there are positives to take and we can go and do it right in the replay."

It was the midfielder's first minutes of any sort since the Carabao Cup win over Coventry in August, although he did get 16 minutes off the bench for Nigerian Under-23s against South Africa in November.

"It was tough, being my first 90 minutes," he said. "Towards the end I was struggling a bit but it was a great feeling [to play and score]. The crowd were very vocal, very supportive and it was just good to make them proud and show them what I can do.  Mapps was giving me a lot of advice, telling me to stay switched on and not to lose concentration. I then had to [do the same and] help Callum [Whelan] when he came on. The older players gave lots of support."

Signed from Manchester City in the summer, Dele-Bashiru has had to wait patiently for his chance but he was named on the bench at Sheffield United and his first start has come soon after, so Nigel Pearson has clearly liked what he has seen in training.

"He's just a good guy," said Dele-Bashiru of the Head Coach. "He motivates all the players, he tells us our chance will come and that you have to take it when it does. He demands a lot from everyone. I'll keep working hard in training and show that I'm ready to play."