After Lockdown 2, Football was back! As for what seems usual for a Watford home match at Kings Langley it was lashing down, proper horrible rain, the one that comes in sideways, so even a brolly is useless!
Surprisingly, there was still a very good attendance for this match, nearly 200 soles, braving the conditions. If there’s one positive from COVID-19 for Women’s Football, especially at the lower levels, it is that gates have improved, this time last year, with similar conditions, the attendance would have been lucky to be 100.
My role as a volunteer at Watford has changed this season, I’m stood out the front, one of the roles is to meet and greet supporters in entry, so they understand the rules put in place, track and trace, masks etc. The number of new fans has been amazing. Even members of The Southern Counties Hornets have been travelling up for games, and the best part is the new fans have been coming back and have given me fantastic feedback on The Women’s Game and especially The Golden Girls!
With this week being Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces Campaign, on behalf of The Watford FC Women Supporters Group, that I founded last year, I spoke to The Proud Hornets, an LGBT group for Watford fans, they came up in good numbers and loved it and are definitely coming again. We gave them a very interesting interview on The PA system at half time.
Coming into the Watford starting 11 from the last game against Plymouth, an 8-0 victory, was the experienced Emma Beckett, Captain Helen Ward and a first start for Rosie Kmita. Coming in for Chichester & Selsey from their last match, a 7-0 win over Hounslow was Jessica Burke, Isobelle Foster and Ella Newman.
Watford started brightly and had the ball in the net after 8 minutes, to be ruled out, the linesman saying “She was a yard and a half offside!”. Chichester were also looking dangerous, a good attack saw a shot blocked and the rebound just over and hit the top of the net.
On 20 minutes, Kmita played a lovely ball to Helen Ward, Foster was in the way of the Skippers shot though with a good save and only 3 minutes later, Foster again denied Ward, after The Welsh all-time top scorer lost her marker in the box.
Then Helen Ward finally beat the excellent Foster, some great play by Sarah Wiltshire, who smashed the ball off the post, the ball fell for Ward, who was never going to miss. 5 minutes later and it was two, Ocean Rolandsen put a decent ball into the box, the opposition defenders couldn’t deal with it and Ward put it in the net for hers and Watford’s second.
Chichester finished the half quite strongly, with two efforts, the 1st going over and the 2nd from Fox was ambitious, but it didn’t dip enough to go in.
Watford continued to attack in the 2nd half, as the rain got stronger, as did the wind, Emma Beckett with a lovely long-range effort, matched again by Foster, with a good save.
Watford made a couple of substitutions, Alysha Stojko-Down and Katie O’Leary coming on, sandwiched in-between theses subs was a blocked effort by Anne Meiwald. Gemma Staple then entered the pitch for Chichester.
Gemma Simmonds had a decent effort for The Greens, gathered up by Sophie Harris, who was becoming a spectator as the game went on. Megan Chandler fired over for The Hornets and then the 3rd was in. Putting her head to a set piece and putting it in the bottom corner.
A couple of injuries for Watford, Megan Chandler, looked to have an ankle problem, she was substituted for Rubie Smith for her League debut. Alysha Stojko-Down took a ball to the face, which made her legs buckle, she was seen immediately by medical staff and was absolutely fine to continue.
Adekite Fatuga-Dada then went on one of her amazing runs, gliding through the defence, squaring to Katie O’Leary, who put it into an empty net. To her shock, the linesman’s flag went up, she definitely wasn’t happy about it, the goal would of gone well as it was her 50th appearance for The Golden Girls. It was 4, soon after, another set piece floated in, this time the excellent Emma Beckett firing home!
It was so nearly 5 and also a hat-trick for player of the match Helen Ward, she rounded the keeper and had a shot, which looked like it was gonna hot the roof of the net, but somehow Amber Howden burst out of nowhere to head over, a fantastic goal line clearance, which was applauded by the near two-hundred crowd.
Hopefully a match with Gillingham at home next week, but they haven’t returned since lockdown yet, I hope it’s on, one more game before a Christmas break would do nicely!