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Watford Ladies draw with West Ham United Ladies in Premier League Cup opener
5:20pm Monday 24th September 2012 in Sport
Watford Ladies came from behind twice to snatch a 3-3 draw in the final minutes of their opening Premier League Cup clash at home to West Ham United Ladies yesterday.
The tone for a topsy-turvy afternoon was set in a frantic first ten minutes in which the hosts fell behind and then took the lead.
With barely five minutes on the clock, the visitors took an early lead. As Watford failed to clear the danger of a ball into the box, it was Becky Merritt who reacted quickest and slotted past keeper Lauren Davey.
The lead was short lived though, as from the kick off Watford hassled and harried their opponents back into their own box and a flick header by debutant Fliss Gibbons found Sarah Wiltshire. Her cross was only pushed out to Irene Martin Garcia, who tucked the ball home to level the scores.
With Watford on the front foot, Wiltshire showed some dogged play to break up the play, setting Jo Wilson free to make it two goals for the home side in a matter of minutes.
Watford should have made the game safe as a ball across the box from Wiltshire just flashed past Garcia at the back post.
Garcia turned provider as she put a superb ball into the penalty area and as Wilson rose highest, she just couldn’t control her bullet header as it flashed just wide of the post.
Wilson was proving dangerous up front and she saw a shot just whistle past the post before seeing a half-volley blaze over the bar as she just couldn’t work Irons keeper Toni-Anne.
Davey had to be sharp to deal with some dangerous balls into her box and Wiltshire went close at the other end for the Hornets.
Wilson had another effort before the first half finished with Georgia Mays failing to convert a header when she found space from a corner as Watford did everything but put the visitors away as they dominated most of the first half.
After a slow start to the second half in the wind and driving rain, Vicky King produced a great saving tackle for West Ham to deny Wilson an opportunity on goal.
With West Ham starting to look dangerous, Watford switched off and allowed Merritt the chance to turn and shoot in the box and she put a powerful shot past Davey to make it 2-2.
The Hammers sniffed blood as the momentum began to swing in their favour and Merritt struck a superb long-range effort that Davey expertly pushed round the post.
From the resulting corner, the visitors were in front as they punished Watford for not clearing their lines. After initially scrambling the ball away to the edge of the box, a second ball into the 18-yard area left the Hornets watching Lindsey Morgan as she powered her header into the back of the net.
Watford threw everything at their East London opponents and in the dying minutes Renee Hector strode up from defence to tuck away a Wiltshire free-kick as the Golden Girls levelled the score line.
Both sides pushed for a winner but with the rain finally relenting, a draw proved to be a fair result as John Salomon’s side battled hard to make sure they took something positive from the game.
The manager echoed those thoughts and said: “Obviously we’re disappointed not to come away with the win today, but despite being disappointed with the result, I am pleased with the perseverance shown by our players to come from behind twice and level the game so late on.
“Credit to West Ham, they were physical and took their chances.
“A point gives us a good platform to build from in the League Cup and we’ll take the positives and learning curves from today in preparation for our trip to Coventry next weekend.”