A battling display was not enough for Watford Ladies as opponents Leeds United won Sunday’s Women’s FA Cup fourth round clash 2-0 at Berkhamsted.
Goals in either half from Tanya Rich and Abbie Lee were enough to hand the visitors the win, which saw them knock the Golden Girls out of the competition for the second season running.
The fixture was a tightly-fought contest with neither keeper really tested throughout, but it was Leeds that started the brighter, and they took the lead after just four minutes through Rich.
Bekki Bass was sent down the right wing and she crossed along the box for Rich to smash home from 12 yards, past the diving right hand of Watford keeper Lauren Davey.
Neither team created much in the first half, with the Hornets unable to capitalise on some dangerous crosses from Sarah Wiltshire.
It was Wiltshire who hit the crossbar later in the opening period, before Jo Wilson was denied by the offside flag after finishing coolly on 45 minutes following good build-up play from Georgia Mays, Kate Natkiel and Wiltshire.
The second half was much the same as the first, with neither team able to bypass two well-organised defences.
Leeds stung the palms of Davey three minutes after the restart, while Emma Beckett’s free-kick ten minutes later caused confusion in the Leeds box – almost leading to an own goal.
However, it was on 62 minutes that substitute Lee latched on to a long ball over the Watford defence, beating the on-rushing Davey with her head, and seeing the ball trickle over the line to double her side’s advantage.
Watford puffed and panted as they searched for a breakthrough, but Leeds’ defence stood firm, and despite a late effort from replacement Megan Wynne, who smashed a left-footed effort against the crossbar, the Hornets were unable to mount a comeback and were eliminated from the competition.
Manager John Salomon was honest in his assessment of the cup tie, but was quick to praise the battling quality of his side.
He said: "It's disappointing to go out the FA Cup, but we can now focus on accumulating as many points in the league as possible. "It'll be an exciting run in, we have a target to work towards and we can now be fully focused on achieving that."