Keith Boanas hailed a “massive response” after Watford Ladies bounced back from Sunday’s defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion with a very creditable 1-1 draw at home to a highly-regarded Doncaster Rovers Belles.
Courtney Sweetman-Kirk gave the unbeaten visitors the lead shortly before half-time last night at Kings Langley’s Gaywood Park home, but the Golden Girls were back on terms nine minutes after the break through Leah Cudone.
The draw doubled Watford’s points tally this season and was enough to lift them off the bottom of the Women’s Super League 2 Spring Series table, above an Oxford United Women’s side who have played a game more.
Boanas believes Doncaster are the best team in the league and the head coach told the WSL website: “We have not had the best of luck, we have not had the best of consistency but it was a great test for these girls tonight to show us who they really want to be here. I’m really pleased that they responded after what was a poor performance on Sunday. It was a massive response.
“We obviously changed it around a bit beforehand. We changed almost our complete back four. It was [goalkeeper] (Josephine) Fletcher’s first game for us. The back line were one of the big differences.
“We know we have got good attacking players. We said ‘go on and have a go from the kick off’. Don’t wait 45 minutes to start the game. We did that and felt we could have been two or three up in the first 20 minutes.”
After Mayumi Pachecho had fired over for Rovers, the Lady Hornets responded when Rinsola Babajide surged down the left and forced a good save out of Nicky Davies.
Doncaster took the lead when Kirsty Hanson’s fine worked on the left ended with a delivery that gave Sweetman-Kirk a straightforward finish.
But the hosts were not to be behind for long as Cudone capitalised on a goalmouth scramble which Sophie Barker was unable to clear.
The Watford scorer could have put her side in front soon after, but miskicked, while the last chance of the game fell to Sweetman-Kirk, who saw her ambitious backheel dealt with by keeper Fletcher.
Watford Ladies: Fletcher; Poole, Neal, Nuttall, Kerr, Maple (Petkove 60), Puddefoot, Will, Fatuga-Dada (Charles 77), Cudone, Babajide. Subs not used: Gillett, McKeag, Albert, Jordinson, Baxter.