Watford post-game huddle

FAWSL 2 Focus – 12 March 2017

GOTB Featured Game

Watford v Durham

We returned to the FAWSL 2 this weekend with a trip to Kings Langley FC, another ground to tick off the list. The new home of Watford FC survived the early morning deluge of rain as the Hornets hosted Durham in tough conditions. The visitors took the lead in the second half through a goal from Emily Roberts. Watford, however, hit back immediately with Rinsola Babajide‘s worldie earning her side a point. 

Opinion:

After their pre-season strife, Watford have impressed so far in FAWSL 2 without getting the results they perhaps deserve. Keith Boanas has instilled a resilience in them that has not be seen for a while. On Sunday, they proved tough to breakdown, limiting Durham to a few clear chances. They also had several chances of their own and should have taken the lead when Leah Cudone and then Charlotte Kerr broke through.

Durham improved in the second half and at times the game was end to end, as illustrated by the goals being scored so close together. The Wildcats will feel they should have won it at the end when two efforts were cleared off the line. Overall, it was a pretty even affair and a point each was, in our opinion, a fair result.

Another thing to note, all though it will be no surprise, was how poor the refereeing team were. They consistently made poor decisions, with handballs and fouls going unpunished or being given the wrong way. The decisions were almost as bad as the one Watford made in choosing to play in their white kit on a field of mud.

Players of the Match:

The conditions on the pitch made it tricky for anyone to shine but there were a couple of big performances on either side.

When we heard about her move to Watford, we knew Keith Boanas and the team have themselves quite a player. Rinsola Babajide is one of the best young talents in the league. In the first half, her speed and strength on the ball caused the Durham defence some trouble and got her reward in the second with a lovely curling finish.  

For us, it was Beth Hepple who had the most influence on the game for Durham. While she probably should have put away a couple of her chances, she was a constant threat in attack. In the first half, she saw a 30-yard effort dip over the bar and was denied by Lucy Gillett early in the second period. It was Hepple who provided the assist for Roberts’ goal and she could have claimed the winner but for another save from the Watford goalkeeper. 

Stop of the Match: 

It was not technically a save but this clearance on the line from Watford’s left-back Meghan McKeag was vital in a period of intense pressure from the visitors. Durham had been camped out around the Watford area and managed to win a corner. The cross was a good one and captain Sarah Wilson leapt highest to head it goalwards with only McKeag’s quick reactions stopping it from nestling in the bottom corner. 

Goal of the Match:

Without a doubt this goes to Rinsola Babajide‘s 30-odd yard curling effort. She has an uncanny knack of scoring spectacular goals and this was another one to add to the collection.

 

Elsewhere

Doncaster Belles v London Bees

After several postponements, Doncaster finally got their league campaign underway with an impressive 4-1 win over London Bees.

Courtney Sweetman-Kirk‘s absence through injury for the majority of last year was a huge blow for the Belles and she has been showing everyone just what was missing so far this season. With a penalty in the FA Cup a fortnight before, the prolific striker came up with two goals on Sunday afternoon. Christie Murray‘s first goal for the club was sandwiched in between them before Emily Simpkins rounded the scoring off with 5 minutes left to play.

London Bees got a consolation goal late on through Emma Beckett but the damage had already been done.

Millwall Lionesses v Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton earned their third draw in three games when they visited Millwall at Fisher FC on Sunday. The game ended goalless but there were plenty of chances on both sides.

Oxford United v Aston Villa

There were no goals in Abingdon either as Oxford earned a point off an unbeaten Aston Villa side. Both teams had their chances to score but neither could take their opportunities as the clock ran down.

Sheffield v Everton

Sheffield suffered their second defeat of the Spring Series, losing narrowly at home to Everton. Claudia Walker gave the Toffees the lead before Sherry McCue equalised for Sheffield. However, an own goal from Ellie Gilliatt with under 10 minutes to play gave Everton the win.