Match Report: Watford U23’s 4-0 Norwich City Reserves

Photo: David Quick

With The Golden Girls first team all the way up in Middlesbrough playing in The FA Women’s National League Plate Competition Semi Final, and the fact me and Lindsay haven’t been to a home game since 2019 due to the weather, we decided to pop up Kings Langley to watch The High Flying Under 23’s take on The Canaries Reserve side in a FA Women’s National League Reserve South East Division match.

With no volunteer duties, a later departure than usual and a late lunch in a local fast food joint.

We arrived at the ground and found the girls warming up on the back pitch, not the usual 1st team pitch, again that pitch was unplayable so they moved the game to the back pitch. It’s a smaller pitch, full size but more for junior football. The pitch was already very muddy and balls bubbling around all over the place.

I managed to see the team sheet, only two subs for The Golden Girls and new signing Renée Hector was in the starting eleven, still regaining her fitness.

Someone then noticed that Norwich had turned up in their Yellow home kit and as most people know, Watford also play in yellow. A search in the kit shed and we found Watford’s Green away kit from last season. So Norwich had to wear that.

The Girls came out, no handshakes but a touch of elbows!

The game took a while to settle, it was very scrappy for the 1st 10 minutes, then an attack for Watford, Chiara Meola with some good work down the right, fizzing a ball across the face of the goal, Jenny Hughes inches from tapping it in at the far post.

One minute later and the deadlock was broken, Watford had a free kick 25 yards out, Echo Barrett looped it over the Keeper and straight into the back of the net. One nil Watford.
A few minutes later, it was two. A lovely through ball found Eshe Davies one on one with the Goalkeeper and she slotted it nicely into the net.

The game was all Watford, Keta Rragami had a long shot saved by Louise Kennedy straight after a penalty appeal for handball, Petra Kos played in Holly Holt who put a one on one straight at the keeper and Keta had another long-range effort go just wide after a nice lay of by Chiara.

Then the third was scored by Eshe, with her 2nd, another ball straight through the defence this time by Ceri Milnes, Eshe with another beat finish.

Norwich were kept on the back foot for the rest of the half, Jenny Hughes with a lovely mazey run, her shot well blocked by a Norwich defender.

Half time and an impressive performance by The Young Hornets, news came through that The First team had won 2-0, so now face WBA in the Final on the 22nd March.

The 2nd half carried on pretty much the same, Norwich making one subdue to a player being injured. I can’t say who as the team sheet numbers were different from the ones worn after the change of strip. Chiara had an early chance having her shot blocked after some nice work from Keta.

The fourth Watford goal was then scored by Chiara, another through ball and she slotted home.

Eshe nearly had a hat-trick, her header was cleared off the line.

13 minutes into the second half had their 1st meaningful shot at goal, the number 3 hitting straight at Katie McLean from 25 yards.

The excellent Echo Barrett was substituted, she had an injury, didn’t look too bad, hopefully just a knock.

Watford continued to dominate, Holly Holt, who was very busy up and down the Left put a ball through to Petra Kos, who put it wide of the near post. Jenny Hughes put through Eshe who again failed to get a hat-trick, striking straight at the Kerper. Petra put through Chiara, a good save from Louise Kennedy this time. Petra had a shot that broke the net, it went wide though and hit the back stanchion, unclipping it, so a short break in play while the ref fixed it. The last chance of the game went to Norwich, the number 3 again, this time with a good shot low to the keepers right, in which Katie held well.

A deserved win for The Hornets, it should have been a lot more though. Head Coach Laura Dyer actually came off saying the game felt like a loss!

Echo Barrett was named Player of the Match, she received a sweets Jar from local businessman Suren.

The girls will have to up their game next week. They play Stevenage in The Hertfordshire FA Women’s Challenge Cup Final at The Herts FA’s Letchworth County Ground. 2pm kick-off if anyone fancies it. With the first team away to Yeovil I think I’m gonna have to take the kids!

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