Ladies 22/10/2019

Ladies: Gillingham 0-4 Watford

The Golden Girls went top of the league on Sunday (October 20) after rousing second-half performance saw four goals scored in 45 minutes as Gillingham were defeated 4-0.

Despite plenty of opportunities in the first half it was goalless at the break, and it was captain Helen Ward who started off the scoring in the second period. Andrea Carid added to her goal total this season too, adding another two to her tally, and it was defender Emily Hill who secured the win with the fourth goal.

It was a second half performance to remember, with the Ladies completely dominating the game and coming out with a well-earned win. It meant the Hornets moved into their seventh game unbeaten and helped their promotion push in the FA Women’s National League as they now sit top of the table.

It was a slow start to the game as Watford couldn’t seem to find their feet and Gillingham took advantage of this with some good build-up play. Opportunities were missed by both sides and Gillingham had a good hold of the ball in the middle of the park, but couldn’t quite make it through the Watford defence.

But soon Watford started to show what they were made of and, in the 15th minute, Adekite Fatuga-Dada had her first chance of the game as she just missed a low cross driven in by Carid.

Lancaster’s team spent a lot of the first period in the opposition’s half, Megan Chandler frequently getting into scoring positions with a constant willingness to move the ball forward.

However the first half was full of missed opportunities, with Anne Meiwald, Carid, Ward and Fatuga-Dada all missing the target. The closest the Ladies came to opening the scoring before the break was when a free kick was awarded just before half-time. Beckett took it from 30 yards out but was denied by the woodwork, something the Golden Girls are becoming very familiar with.

Just before the whistle blew there was another chance for Watford as Meiwald put a perfect cross into the box for Fatuga-Dada but it just missed her foot.

Gillingham opened up the second half very strong and within minutes Harrison was storming towards Nina Wilson in goal, but her shot just went over the bar.

Watford were quick to react though and regained possession well. You could feel the Watford goal was coming and it was well deserved when Ocean Rolandsen made a run down the line and put a perfect whip into the box – Ward jumped through the defence and headed the ball into the net.

This kicked Watford into another gear and not long after, with a great run from Fatuga-Dada down the right, the ball was passed along the floor into the feet of Carid, who tapped it home.

The dominance from the Golden Girls was showing through and throughout the second half chances kept coming. Another met the crossbar as Elle Richards – who came on for Ryah Vyse – smashed the ball against the woodwork.

Watford were closing in on the win and, earning an assist to add to her goal tally, Ward broke past two of Gillingham’s defenders, crossed the ball and found Carid in the box, who beat the keeper again.

The Golden Girls sealed the win when a looping cross from Beckett found Hill, who rose high to head the ball into the back post.

In credit to Gillingham, they didn’t stop at 4-0 down and Powell had a long distance shot hit the crossbar. But Watford held on and it was a well-deserved win for the Golden Girls which saw them take away three points, four goals and a clean sheet.

GOLDEN GIRLS: Wilson (GK); Hill, Beckett, Meiwald, Rolandsen, Chandler, Stojko-Down (Scanlon 78), Vyse (Richards 73), Fatuga-Dada (O’Leary 65), Ward(C), Carid.

Subs not used: Wiggins (GK), Harney.

Under-23's 21/10/2019

Mullins: “He's Getting Goals To Go With His Endeavour”

Sam Dalby scored his fourth goal in three games and his sixth of the season to earn the Under-23s a point at the death at Coventry, keeping Hayden Mullins’ side at the top of the table and continuing their unbeaten run.

The match was first versus second in the Professional Development League and the Golden Boys dominated both in terms of possession and chances created at the Alan Higgs Centre in Coventry, but the hosts took the lead after 15 minutes when Gervane Kastaneer finished a counter-attack.

After countless Hornets efforts failed to find the back of the net it felt like it just wasn’t going to be Watford’s day. That is until Dalby cropped up with a real poacher’s finish in the 85th minute to level the scores and stifle Coventry’s hopes of leapfrogging Watford in the table.

“It’s a very good point and I think we were the better team from the first minute if I’m being honest. We had the lion’s share of possession, we camped them a lot in their own half and the amount of chances we had, we were unlucky to be 1-0 down,” said Mullins.

“I thought it was going to be one of those games we weren’t going to get back into despite the amount of chances we had. In the end, to come away from home and dominate possession like we did and be disappointed with a point, for us it’s a compliment to the boys.

“The most pleasing thing for me was the character today and the way they kept going and didn’t get too down after the amount of chances we’ve missed.”

The young Hornets dominated out wide, with many chances coming through Joe Hungbo and the spritely Jayden Bennetts, who had the beating of Coventry left-back Morgan Williams from the third minute when he set up Dalby for a chance which was arrowed just wide.

“He [Bennetts] did very, very well, in fact both of them did,” said Mullins. “Joe put some great crosses in during the first half and Jayden was getting past his man, but we just sort of lacked that one killer pass to unlock their defence and get a goal.”

But a goal eventually came through the towering Dalby, who was an invaluable outlet throughout and continued his goalscoring streak by reacting quickest to a parried late Bennetts effort.

“[Dalby’s] contribution is very good, in both boxes he’s a good presence for us and he’s a very good option for us in free play as well. I’m pleased he’s getting his goals as well to go with his endeavour and his work rate because he works well for the team,” said Mullins.

“It was a tough test today. They had a couple of first team lads involved which is always a good test for our boys, to go up against them and see the difference in physicality and things like that. It was very pleasing.”

Henry Wise was dismissed in injury time for a second yellow card after a strong tackle, but the young Hornets comfortably held out for the draw.

“Eventually getting back into it and going one man down as well is a different test for them, and I was pleased with the character,” said Mullins. “The season’s not over and there’s a bigger picture we need to look towards, so we can’t let it slip.”

HORNETS: Parkes (GK); Balogun (C), Barrett, Spencer-Adams (Trialist 72), Hudson; Wise, Whelan; Bennetts, Hinds (Forster 77), Hungbo (Cassidy 77); Dalby

Subs not used: Hoskins (GK), Adebiyi