Helen Ward was forthright in her assessment after Watford Ladies slumped to the bottom of Women’s Super League 2 following a 4-0 defeat at previously winless Aston Villa.

With morale in the Hornets’ squad already hit by last week’s announcement that the club will not by seeking to join the new full-time WSL next season, the visitors never recovered from falling behind inside 90 seconds, although they did go close to scoring on a couple of occasions in the first half.

Welsh international striker Ward admitted: “The early goals we conceded in each half killed us… when that first one went in you could see the heads drop.

“After their second goal we had a good spell before half-time, but then they got their third goal and it was another poor one to concede.

“We just didn’t do the basics right today. We never really looked like troubling them and that was the most disappointing thing.”

Villa were quick out of the blocks and were on top for most of the match after Beth Merrick had given the hosts the perfect start.

The winger found herself on the left of the penalty area and curled her shot into the far corner of the net.

Watford should have equalised in the 12th minute but midfielder Rinsola Babajide shot wide from inside the six-yard box when she should have done better.

And the home side took full advantage midway through the opening period; Ebony Salmon outpacing Watford’s defenders to slide home the second of the afternoon.

Visiting skipper Anneka Nuttall almost pulled a goal back when her 25-yard free-kick bounced back off the crossbar, but it proved not to be Watford’s day.

Villa remained in control and caught their opponents cold again at the start of the second half when captain Chloe Jones headed in a Merrick set piece to put the game out of the visitors’ reach.

And Merrick completed the rout with a 20-yard free-kick late in the day to seal an impressive individual and team display.

The defeat leaves the Hornets with one point from their opening five league games, but they face a major test on Thursday when Arsenal visit Kings Langley FC in the Continental Cup for a 7.45pm kick off.