City Ladies v Watford: Match report
- 11 February 2013 13:49
- Posted by @NieldyMCFC / Words by Kevin Sims
A Sarah Danby penalty deep into injury time gave City Ladies a share of the spoils and denied the visitors the chance to take over at the top of the division.
The opening exchanges were an even affair until the game settled down with City dominating possession. The Blues were denied a penalty in the tenth minute when the ball was received inside the box by Danby who flicked the ball away with her first touch and appeared to be then caught by the on rushing defender as she tried to skip past. Referee Stone turned away the loud City appeals.
Even with the majority of the ball City couldn’t find a way in behind the well organised Watford defence. Despite good build up play the Blues failed to register a shot on keeper Lauren Davey’s goal in the opening 15 minutes. A loose pass from the Watford centre back gifted an opportunity to Danni Young who incepted the ball back to Davey and managed to nick it past her, but with an acute angle she couldn’t guide it into the net with her weaker foot.
As the half drew to a close, City had another good chance to open the scoring. A Sarah Danby cross saw Captain Lindsay Savage rise to loop a header, beating Davey but not the crossbar.
A rare Watford breakaway five minutes into first half injury time saw the highly rated Sarah Wiltshire drift in off the touchline and float a cross to the City far post for the Hornet’s leading goal scorer Jo Wilson to head home, leaving City 0-1 down at the break and wondering where the stoppage time had come from.
Undeterred, City started the second period brightly, again enjoying the lion share of the possession. With Watford sitting back and happy to break quickly, the Blues were sensing an equaliser sooner rather than later.
On the hour, it was one of these breaks that nearly sealed the game for the Golden Girls, after McManus seemed to be innocuously shepherding the ball of out play and pressured by a Watford attacker referee then Stone blew for a spot kick to the visitors. Despite protests from the home side the penalty was given and Wiltshire had the chance put Watford two goals clear.
Worrall faced her opponent having been beaten from the spot against Sheffield the previous week, this time she was not to be denied; diving to her left to palm the ball away leaving City still in the game.
The Blues increased the pressure, forcing two corners in succession, going close through Chelsea Nightingale who saw both efforts cleared off the line. Watford were limited to opportunities from set pieces as City spent more time in the Hornet half hunting for the equaliser.
Two minutes of injury time had been played when City were awarded a free kick 35 yards from the Watford goal. The ball was floated into the area causing panic in the Watford ranks a tangle of legs and bodies across the referee’s line of sight resulted in a penalty kick being given to the Blues.
It was Sarah Danby who took responsibility for the spot kick and coolly dispatched the penalty to Davey’s right. It was no less than City deserved for their efforts, despite Watford’s resilience.
Still the drama continued, when battling for a header, Lynda Shepherd picked up her second booking of the game. After an earlier caution, a seemingly innocuous foul four minutes into stoppage time resulted in her being shown the red card.
A good performance by the Blues, however they were left wondering how they hadn’t got more from the game. Watford were unhappy with the penalty award and protests continued after the final whistle, frustrated that their opportunity to go top of the division was thwarted.
Manager Leigh Wood reflected on the game after the final whistle, “A good game of football today, against a well-organised Watford team. We dominated the first half and if we had scored the opening goal I feel we would have gone on to win the game. Watford came with a game plan and nearly executed it, but credit to the players they never gave in and fully deserved to get at least a point out of the game. Well Done Ladies”.
City XI: Worrall, Middleton, McManus, Nightingale, Harding, Lee, Shepherd, Savage (c) (Bayley 65), Young (Buffel 60), Danby, Johnston (Jordan 28)
Subs: Jordan, Bayley, Buffel