Under-23's 20/11/2018

U23 Report: Cardiff City 2-0 Watford

The Hornets' Under-23 side were downed by goals from two senior Bluebirds players, as they fell to a 2-0 defeat by Cardiff City in the Welsh Capital.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Gary Madine - who have made eight Premier League appearances between them this season - each scored in the second half after the young Hornets had made it difficult for the hosts up until then.

Loic Damour and Brian Murphy were also senior professionals included in the Cardiff starting XI, meaning that a Watford side that had an average age of just 18 and a half were facing a tough test from the outset.

Watford had the first real chance after 11 minutes, as Michael Folivi cut in from the left and tested Murphy's reflexes with a powerful drive. The Hornets were piling on the pressure, with Ryan Cassidy the next to spurn a decent chance just moments later, after good interplay with Folivi.

But Cardiff slowly played their way back into the game, with Sam Howes called into action to deny Mendez-Laing from opening the scoring with 26 minutes played.

From that point on the Bluebirds really got the bit between their teeth; Howes again needed to take action to claw away a well-struck free-kick, Mendez-Laing and Damour both wasted good chances by dragging their shots wide of the target, and then Madine tried to fire home a volley which would have found the net, if not for a deflection that took it away from goal.

All things considered, the Hornets could have been behind at the break, but a combination of excellent goalkeeping and resolute defending meant that they had swatted away a series of chances from the more experienced Cardiff side.

Perhaps, after a flurry of chances in the first period, both sides were sent out to be a little tighter in the second - with no real chances coming until past the hour mark, though when they did come, they unfortunately came for the hosts.

Mendez-Laing fired home in the 67th minute to put all that hard work to waste, before leaving the field to some applause - the winger has been on his way back from a ligament injury.

From then on it only really looked as if the Bluebirds would add to the scoreline, and they did in the 90th minute, as Madine rose powered a header past Howes to put the tin lid on it.

HORNETS| Howes (GK); Eleftheriou, Hudson, Mukena, Gordon; Forster (Bennetts, 89), Charles (C), Phillips (Hutchinson, 77), Holsgrove (Trialist, 68); Cassidy, Folivi.

Subs not used | Baptiste (GK), Tricker.

Ladies 19/11/2018

Ladies Report: Watford 1-0 Chichester City

By Chris Smith

A great team performance from Watford FC Ladies saw them secure a 1-0 home win against top-of-the-table Chichester City Ladies on Sunday.

The Golden Girls took the lead in the 15th minute. It was a bit fortuitous, but Danielle Scanlon put herself in the right place for the ball to hit her and go in.

It was a performance where you couldn’t fault a single player, with Weronika Baranowska only having to make one really challenging save. 

In the closing stages it was Watford that looked more likely going forward, but one goal was enough as the team got back to winning ways in fine fashion.

Head Coach Armand Kavaja opted to make four changes to the team that had faced MK Dons the previous Sunday. Helen Ward returned after missing the last fixture due to international duty. Lauren Peck and Kat Huggins started in the full-back positions, while Leanne Bell also made her first start since her return from injury.

It was a competitive beginning to the game which set the tone for the rest of the contest. Tammy Waine had a shot blocked for the visitors and Huggins had an effort go wide for Watford.

The opening goal came as the quarter-of-an-hour mark approached. Emily Hill’s shot was goalbound before a defender cleared, it hit Scanlon though and went into the net.

Hill then proved her worth back at the other end as a fine tackle in the box put an end to Hollie Wride’s twisting and turning.

A theme throughout the match was blocked shots. It appeared that Chichester had an opening, but Huggins was on it quickly and blocked Gemma Simmonds’ strike.

With the game just past the midway point of the half, Baranowska made a good save to maintain the lead. Wride’s free-kick was decent but the save was better as Weronika tipped it over.

Bell had a great chance to double the advantage for the Golden Girls, having been picked out by Andrea Carid, but Lauren Dolbear did well to palm her effort away. 

It looked like Watford had doubled the advantage when Ward beat Dolbear, however the linesman’s flag was raised.

Both sides had opportunities before the break. Molly Clark shot wide for the away side, while a deflection took the sting from Katie O’Leary’s shot making it easy for the opposition keeper to gather.

Linda Afuakwah came on for the injured O’Leary and she had a slight opening after being picked out by Ward, but she couldn’t quite round the goalkeeper.

It’s testament to the defending from Kavaja’s side that a Chichester outfit that had scored in every game this season were mainly limited to half chances.

With the game entering the final 15 and the away side committing players forward, more opportunities began to open up for Watford on the counter.

The best of these saw Bell get away from her marker before forcing Dolbear to make a fine save to keep her side within one.

Chichester’s biggest chance fell to Jade Widdows in the box, however yet again a Watford defender was in the way as it deflected out for a corner.

Dolbear kept her side in it for a second time, making a good save from Afuakwah who had won the ball from an opposition defender in a dangerous position.

With an injury in stoppage time, it meant that play continued for a further seven-and-a-half minutes. Eventually the full-time whistle blew, and Watford had secured an impressive result with an equally impressive performance.

GOLDEN GIRLS | Baranowska, Peck (Akerman, 76), Hill, Edwards, Huggins, Scanlon, Stojko-Down, Carid (Baker, 62), Ward (C), Bell, O’Leary (Afuakwah, 45).

Goal | Scanlon (15)

LILLYWHITES | Dolbear, Cheshire (C), Taylor, Wride, M Clark, Stephens, Khassal, Waine, Barron (L Clark, 75), Simmonds (Lewry, HT) (Widdows, 58), Bazan.

Attendance | 120