Spring Series Review - April
A particularly busy fortnight sees Watford take seven points from a possible 12.
It’s our third review of how the Spring Series went for Watford Ladies, this time we’re focusing on April.
It would prove to be a fruitful month, as the Lady Hornets picked up seven points from four league games.
5th-10th April – International Success
England qualified for the UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship after winning all three of their group games at the Elite Round.
Turkey, Denmark and the Czech Republic were all defeated by scorelines of 3-0, 2-0 and 7-0 respectively.
Rinsola Babajide came on as a substitute in the win over Turkey and played the full 90 minutes against Denmark.
16th April – Brighton & Hove Albion (A)
Watford played their first league game since March 12th as they took on Brighton in Lancing. It would be the start of a hectic schedule that saw the Golden Girls play four times in a fortnight.
The opening goal went to the hosts in this one, Alessia Russo heading home Sophie Perry’s free-kick in the sixth minute.
Brighton then made it 2-0 just after the half hour mark. Russo’s shot was blocked but it fell kindly to Bronwen Thomas who picked out the bottom corner.
There was hope for the Lady Hornets when Merrick Will pounced on Kirsty Barton’s mistake early in the second 45 to make it 2-1.
In a vastly improved second half performance, Watford pressured for an equaliser but couldn’t find a way past Emma Byrne for a second time. When Byrne did appear to be beaten, Perry was there to clear off the line.
20th April – Doncaster Rovers Belles (H)
The next game saw Watford involved in a rare Thursday night fixture, with Doncaster the visitors to Kings Langley.
Tyra Poole made her debut for the first team in this one, while former England goalkeeper Jo Fletcher also made her first appearance for the club.
The Golden Girls had little to cheer about in the previous WSL fixtures between the two clubs, the Belles winning all four, with a couple of emphatic scorelines.
From the early stages in this one, it was clear that was unlikely to be the case this time around. It looked like the first half would end goalless but Courtney Sweetman-Kirk broke the deadlock in the 44th minute to give Doncaster the lead at the break.
The game was all square within ten minutes of the restart. Leah Cudone grabbed the equaliser for Watford, her first league goal for the club. That’s how the scoreline stayed with both defences on top.
23rd April – Sheffield FC Ladies (H)
After an encouraging result in the previous fixture, Watford followed it up three days later with a first win of the Spring Series, beating Sheffield FC 2-0.
The Golden Girls were out of the blocks quickly, taking the lead after just four minutes thanks to Will’s powerful strike.
Sheffield had a glorious chance to equalise when Jenna Dear’s header found Suzanne Davies but fortunately for Watford her shot went wide.
The goal that put the game beyond doubt didn’t come until the 100th minute of the match. Juliana Draycott got a hand to it but she couldn’t keep out Babajide’s strike.
It was a win that had been a long time coming for Watford. The next success proved to be not far away as the progress at the club continued.
30th April – Oxford United (A)
Watford made it back-to-back wins with a narrow 2-1 victory away at Oxford, although the margin could have been greater.
The Lady Hornets didn’t have it all their own way though, the home side went ahead early on through Ellie Noble.
Keith Boanas’ side managed to get an equaliser not long after the initial set-back. Charlotte Kerr showed attacking instincts to find the back of the net from close range.
The winning goal was of a similar nature, Kerr was again in the right place at the right time as she put Watford 2-1 to the good with just under 15 minutes to go.
It could have been more but for some great goalkeeping from Oxford’s Demi Lambourne. Her best save saw her brilliantly deny Simona Petkova’s strike that appeared to be heading for the top corner.
It’s the final review of the Spring Series as we reflect on how May went.
The team had the opportunity to play at two Premier League stadiums as the season came to its conclusion.
(Photo by AW Images)