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Watford Ladies produce impressive victory over Coventry City
11:27am Tuesday 2nd October 2012 in Sport
Watford Ladies continued their good early-season league form with a confident 2-0 victory away at Coventry City as they leapfrogged them into third place.
The Golden Girls got off to a lively start and pegged the hosts back into their own half right from kick off and for the first ten minutes, the Sky Blues seemed unable to relieve the pressure Watford were putting them under.
A flowing move after just two minutes found Josie Green in the penalty area. She had cut in from the left and her goal-bound shot was excellently blocked by a last ditch Coventry challenge.
Sarah Wiltshire's dangerous inswinging corners were causing problems for goalkeeper Sue Wood and her defence and there had been two already that had been unconvincingly scrambled away before Emma Beckett met another with a firm header that just nestled on top of the net, having gone over the bar by barely an inch. Then, later in the same minute, Jo Wilson forced Wood into a great save, as she tipped the striker's 12-yard strike over the bar for a corner.
Fittingly, it was from the resulting Wiltshire corner that Watford opened the scoring.
With ten minutes played, Wiltshire curled in an inswinging corner right footed that dipped under the crossbar and over the line and despite keeper Wood managing to get her hands to the ball, the curl on it proved to be too testing for her as the ball had clearly gone over the goal-line. The referee and her assistant were in no doubts and the goal was awarded with no protests from the home side. It was the Welsh international's second goal from a corner against Coventry after a similar effort and outcome in the same fixture last season.
Coventry did start to go up through the gears as the half wore on and raised a level, but Watford's defensive discipline was holding firm and they restricted the home side to only a couple of speculative long range shots that captain Lauren Davey dealt with the minimum of fuss.
At the other end, Watford tried to keep the pressure up and Wiltshire ensured Wood was to be kept on her toes, forcing her to deal with a left-footed strike from outside the area.
The best chance of the half came midway through, when Kate Natkiel was played through by Beckett on the right-hand side of the box but her low drive was turned around the post by the busy Wood.
But it took the Hornets just four minutes of the second half to double their lead.
Natkiel had a strong run down the right flank and managed to get to the by-line before delivering a cross into the box that was met first time on the volley by Green and her strike found the back of the net via the inside of the post and a deflection for her first senior goal for the club.
Watford were now in the ascendancy and were able to control the match from this point as they calmly kept possession and ensured that if their opponents were to get back in the game, they would have to work hard for it.
A number of forays into the Coventry half almost resulted in chances but the home defence were just about dealing with the threat. Wiltshire stung Wood's hands with a left-foot shot from outside the area that moved awkwardly in the air after another good move from the visitors.
New loan signing Bonnie Horwood, in her second spell with the club, was introduced midway through the second half and she almost managed to get herself on the scoresheet. Another Wiltshire corner caused problems for the Coventry defence and Horwood's shot only went over due to a deflection.
Coventry's first real chance of the game came with only four minutes left on the clock, when Dani Saulter found herself in a good position on the right-hand side of the box but as Davey came out to narrow the angle, she fired high and wide.
This was Watford’s third win out of a possible four this season and manager John Salomon was understandably very pleased with the afternoon's efforts.
He said: "We are absolutely delighted today, not just with the result, but this was one of our better performances in the year I have been in charge. Coventry are a very good side, but we worked hard off the ball and kept the ball well when we had it.
“I'm very pleased with the way we defended as a team, with a new centre back pairing today securing our first clean sheet of the season and this is a really encouraging result and performance ahead of a very tough game next weekend against Sunderland.
“Nine points from a possible 12 is a fantastic start and it is important we keep this momentum going into a difficult October."
Watford Ladies: Davey; Mays, Hector (Horwood), Gunn, Butterwick; Beckett, Gibbons; Natkiel, Wiltshire, Green (Knell); Wilson (Logie).