Ladies Report: QPR 1-1 Watford
By Chris Smith
Watford had to settle for a point as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Queens Park Rangers Women at the Honeycroft on Wednesday night.
The home side got off to the perfect start and took the lead when ex-Watford player Jo Wilson scored direct from a corner after just two minutes.
Helen Ward got the equaliser from the penalty spot for her 16th goal of the season, but the Golden Girls couldn’t find the second that would have given them the victory.
There were three changes to the side that dramatically beat Portsmouth last time out, as Katie O’Leary and Georgie Edwards returned to the starting line-up.
An injury to Kat Huggins in the warm-up meant there was a late enforced change, with Sydney Hinchcliffe coming in for her first appearance of the season.
In the previous meeting between the two sides, Watford took the lead after just 46 seconds, but it would be QPR this time who would put themselves in front early on.
With the game in just the second minute, Wilson scored from a corner. It was a dangerous ball in that somehow managed to avoid everyone, bounced, then hit the far post and went in.
It could have been a quick response from the Hornets as some good play from Ward saw her win possession in the attacking third, beat a defender and then force Kinga Golebiowski into a save.
Neither keeper had too much to do in the first half although there were openings. Courtnay Ward-Chambers had a shot off target after shifting the ball onto her left foot, while Danielle Scanlon’s effort went narrowly over after connecting sweetly with her strike from 20-yards out.
A frantic few minutes followed with the game just past the midway point of the half. The home side appealed for a penalty, but the referee awarded a free-kick the other way for diving.
Ward had to show her expertise defensively as she cleared one off the line. The skipper would soon get her chance in more familiar territory as she was fouled by Golebiowski in the box.
After winning the penalty, she then stepped up to take it and hammered it into the right-hand corner, leaving the QPR keeper with no chance.
The last opening before the break saw O’Leary try to find Adekite Fatuga-Dada in the box, but it was just away from her and the scores were level at half-time.
In the Golden Girls’ previous game, they managed to get on the scoresheet in the first minute of the second 45 and they nearly did that here, as Leanne Bell tested Golebiowski who came up with a good stop.
Bell’s next shot on target looked to have gone through the QPR stopper and heading in, but a defender just managed to get there in time and clear off the line.
Weronika Baranowska was then called upon to make a save down the other end, as she held onto Ward-Chambers’ powerful strike.
It was another spell where plenty was happening in the space of a few minutes. Ward played a ball across goal towards the direction of O’Leary and it was inches away from connecting with the net open.
The hosts were defending well, especially on the occasions when they needed to make last-ditch interventions. Just like Bell earlier, O’Leary had one that was heading goalwards, but it was cleared in time.
With the game approaching the final stages, Hattie Kettle showed some good defensive work to deal with a tricky ball in from Ward-Chambers. It could have been even more important as the play quickly switched and O’Leary was denied by Golebiowski.
The last opportunity fell to Alysha Stojko-Down as she showed some good play on the edge of the box, managing to turn and get a shot away, which Golebiowski held.
A point for Watford on the road but two fewer than they would have hoped for. Armand Kavaja’s side will go again on February 24, when they travel to Loughborough Foxes.
GOLDEN GIRLS | Baranowska, Hinchcliffe (Kikomeko, 52), Edwards, Kettle, Hallsworth, Scanlon (Akerman, 73), Stojko-Down, Bell (Afuakwah, 82), Fatuga-Dada, O’Leary, Ward ©
Goal | Ward (28 – PEN)
HOOPS | Golebiowski, Netschova, Chimbima (Kinnane, 73), Jordinson, Grieve ©, Martins (Petit, 57), Kumaning, Hogan, Wilson, Shakes (Baker, 85), Ward-Chambers
Goal | Wilson (2)
Attendance | 90