Ladies: Keynsham Town Preview
Watford FC Ladies have the opportunity to return to the top of the FA Women’s National League Southern Division when they host Keynsham Town Ladies this Sunday (November 17).
The Golden Girls have been in fine form lately, winning the last five and being unbeaten in eight. Extending that winning run will see Clinton Lancaster’s side go back above Crawley Wasps.
It certainly won’t be easy however, with Keynsham enjoying a good spell themselves and gradually moving up the table.
Views from the Head Coach
Things have been going pretty well lately, with Watford’s winning streak now up to five games and the Hornets having scored at least three in each match.
“We are very happy with what we are seeing at the moment,” Clinton Lancaster told watfordfc.com. “That certainly doesn’t mean we can take our foot off the gas though.
“We can always be better and always improve, and that is what we try to do every week in training and in every game we play.”
The away record in the league has been flawless, but now the home form is starting to match it. Watford can go back top if they record a fourth straight victory at the Orbital Fasteners Stadium.
“We are all very pleased to be back at Kings Langley this weekend and playing in front of our home fans,” said Lancaster.
“The pitch is in brilliant condition. We just need to continue with where we left off and put in an excellent performance for the supporters.
“The players know there is a long way to go and all they focus on is winning each game. If a win puts us top again then great, but that will only matter at the end of the season.”
A few weeks ago this might have looked like a slightly easier match-up. Keynsham have since turned things around after a difficult start, taking seven points from the last nine, including an impressive win at Oxford United last time out.
“They have some good players in their squad and some experience,” explained Lancaster. “It comes as no surprise that they have started picking up points.
“It will be a difficult game for us. They will no doubt come out quickly and give it a good go, but we’ll be ready for that.
“I want to see us enjoy the game, play our football and create lots of chances. We will be patient when we have the ball and we will have to be clever with our movement to get in behind.
“These are all things we have shown this season and we want to continue that this weekend.”
Watford 2-1 Keynsham Town (March 8, 2015)
The two teams last met back in 2015, when they faced each other in the Fourth Round of the Women’s FA Cup.
Just like in the previous round, the Golden Girls had drawn lower league opposition at home. Having already beaten promotion challenging Brighton & Hove Albion, this seemed an easier proposition, with Keynsham bottom of the table and having only taken one point from 14 games.
Despite their poor league record, the visitors had managed to win two games to get to this stage and were looking for a third consecutive win on the road in the competition.
It took until the 28th minute for Watford to make the breakthrough, Hollie Wride’s deft flick from Dawn Mallett’s corner beating Elena Pasare in the opposition goal.
That was Wride’s first for the Hornets and it didn’t take her long to add to that tally, doubling Watford’s lead a little over ten minutes later.
The cup tie was made a little more interesting before the break as Justine Lorton-Radburn pulled a goal back for the visitors. They couldn’t find an equaliser in the second half as John Salomon’s side looked comfortable and professionally saw the game out to seal a place in the Last 16.
That’s where the cup run would come to an end, as a trip to eventual winners Chelsea would prove a step too far.
Team: S Burgess, M Burgess, Hector, Robe (Gillard, 75), Wride, Gunn, Donnelly, Mallett, Farrow, Deacon (Ward-Chambers, HT), Adamson (Nuttall, HT)
Goal | Wride (28, 41)
Since that difficult campaign in 2014/15, during which they only managed to pick up five points, Keynsham have played in the South West Division of the FA WNL. During those seasons, they were a consistent threat towards the top end of the table, finishing third twice and fourth once.
With Chichester City and Plymouth Argyle going unbeaten for two of those years, it was hard to mount any sort of promotion challenge. That all changed in 2018/19.
Keynsham put together a fantastic campaign as they went 17-2-1 and finished seven points clear of their nearest challengers. A 3-0 loss at home to second placed Southampton Women’s FC made the title race interesting, but they responded in style, winning nine straight games.
Unbelievably, their goal difference at the end of the season was +100, as they netted 115 times. Kerry Bartlett enjoyed a remarkably prolific campaign in front of goal, averaging more than two goals per game in the league and scoring 63 in all competitions.
Ahead of their return to the third tier, they managed to keep most of the regulars from the promotion side together, however, there were a few departures. This included the two top scorers, as Bartlett joined Cheltenham Town and Laura Williams made the move to Yeovil Town.
Keynsham had to wait a week longer to get the 2019/20 season underway, with the game against Oxford United on opening day being postponed. It meant their first fixture was in the Determining Round and they progressed to the FA WNL Cup, beating Buckland Athletic 2-1.
It would be their only win for more than two months, as they suffered six straight league defeats and also forfeited their FA WNL Cup game. The losses were either by a small or large margin, with three being by a single goal and the other three being five-goal reverses.
Things are now looking up though. Keynsham got their first league win against Chichester City and then followed that up with a point against Hounslow. Arguably their most impressive result was last time out, as they won 1-0 away at Oxford United, in the match that was originally postponed on opening day.
A look at their squad shows one that has plenty of experience at both a higher level and also internationally. The turnaround will come as no surprise to many in the women’s game and the Hornets will know they’ll have to be at their best to get the three points today.
Last time out
Chichester City 2-3 Watford
Team: Wilson, Hill, Kettle (Beckett, 57), Huggins, Rolandsen, Scanlon (Stojko-Down, 61), Chandler, Vyse, Ward (C), O’Leary, Carid (Fatuga-Dada, 68)
Goals | O’Leary (3, 72), Ward (39)
Oxford United 0-1 Keynsham Town
Team: Haynes, Alborghetti (Nash, 75), Cullen (C), Curson, Davies (Hinchcliffe, 61), Grogan, Lorton, Carvalho, Munro, Nightingale, Yorston
Goal | Lorton (16)
Watford FC Ladies v Keynsham Town Ladies
Sunday 17th November
Kings Langley FC
50 per cent off all admission prices for Watford FC Season Ticket Holders