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)