Watford Ladies' last-gasp Premier League Cup exit at hands of Charlton Athletic

At full stretch: Hornets keeper Lauren Davey. Picture: Andrew Waller.

At full stretch: Hornets keeper Lauren Davey. Picture: Andrew Waller.

First published in Watford FC News by , Group Sports Editor

A 35-yard lob in the last minute of extra-time saw Charlton Athletic end Watford Ladies' 13-game unbeaten run and knock the Golden Girls out of the FA Women's Premier League Cup on Sunday following a 1-0 defeat.

Gemma Shepherd was the player on target, intercepting a clearance from Watford keeper Lauren Davey with the clock showing 119 minutes, and cleverly lobbing the ball back over her into the top corner of the net.

It was a superb finish and there was nothing that Davey or the Watford defence could do about it, with the goal coming too late for the Golden Girls to answer back.

Watford Manager John Salomon was proud of his side's effort though, and could not fault the fight they had shown throughout the contest.

He said: "I think disappointed is the word to come out of today as we worked hard for 120 minutes, but just couldn't find a way through.

"We took a few risks and it was always going to go one way or the other, but unfortunately it went against us.

"We'll certainly use this as motivation with six points to play for against them in the league still this season, but our attentions now turn to bouncing back in the FA Cup next weekend at Derby County."

The game had been a tense affair, with neither team creating an awful lot early on. But it was arguably Charlton that started the brighter, with Jenny Newman missing two identical one-on-ones with Davey, firing straight at her on both occasions.

Watford had to wait until the 18th minute for their first real effort on goal, with Jo Wilson lashing a shot wide after good build-up play in midfield.

Kate Natkiel then set Sarah Wiltshire up on the edge of the box after 22 minutes, but her left-foot strike flew just over the Charlton crossbar.

It was Wiltshire who was presented with the best chance of the half five minutes later, when she latched onto a through pass from midfielder Emma Beckett, but she could only slide her effort narrowly wide.

On the stroke of half-time, Watford thought they had a penalty when striker Wilson was felled in the box. The Watford fans and players appealed, but the referee waved away their shouts.

Watford started the second half much the brighter of the two sides, with Wiltshire forcing Charlton keeper Megan Lynch into a decent save on 47 minutes.

Two minutes later, Watford were denied again after Natkiel struck a sweet right-foot half-volley from fully 25 yards, which cannoned back off the crossbar.

Both teams exchanged long-range efforts in a 15-minute period that saw few chances created, but it was the crossbar that would again deny Watford on 70 minutes.

Wiltshire managed to find space in the box before forcing a save out of Lynch, with the rebound falling to substitute Irene Martin Garcia, who could only loop her effort onto the woodwork from close range.

Wiltshire had the last chance of the 90 minutes after latching onto a scuffed Lynch clearance, but the keeper redeemed herself by parrying the Watford attacker's shot out for a corner.

Extra-time was relatively quiet with both teams feeling the effects of a long and tightly fought contest.

Charlton has the first shot on goal, but the effort went well wide, before they had their own claims for a penalty on 100 minutes, which were waved away by the referee.

Again, chances were hard to come by in the second 15-minute period, with Wilson having Watford's best effort on 115 minutes, following a clever turn and volley from distance that sailed narrowly over the bar.

Just as the teams were preparing themselves for a dreaded penalty shoot-out, Charlton's Shepherd came up with her unstoppable effort to send the Addicks through to the quarter-finals of the competition.

Watford Ladies: Davey; Mays (Rowell), Hector, Gunn, Butterwick; Beckett (Teasdale), Gibbons; Natkiel, Wiltshire, Green (Martin Garcia); Wilson.

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