A former Hornets midfielder came out on top in the clash between the new head coaches as Watford Ladies were beaten 2-0 by Women’s Super League 2 leaders Doncaster Rovers Belles.

First-half goals from Leandra Little and Jess Sigsworth secured the points in Neil Redfearn’s first game in charge yesterday, but there were encouraging signs after the break for new Ladies boss Armand Kavaja, who was also taking charge of his first match since succeeding Keith Boanas.

The former Leeds United and Rotherham United manager, who played for the Hornets in the late 1980s, saw his side make the breakthrough at Kings Langley FC after 10 minutes when Little beat Fran Kitching to a Sigsworth delivery at the near post.

The provider than turned scorer shortly before half-time when Sigsworth netted a second from close range following confusion from a throw-in.

Having been restricted to just two attempts in the opening period from Helen Ward and Cherrelle Albert, Ward could have pulled one back after the break when the ball bobbled over her foot in front of goal.

Captain Anneka Nuttall was also unable to make the most of a cross from Adekite Fatuga-Dada, before the Belles regained control again as Sigsworth and Kirsty Hanson went close, while Kitching produced a superb save to tip over a Samantha Tierney effort.

The Hornets thought they had pulled a goal back when the ball struck the crossbar and bounced directly down, but the referee ruled it hadn’t crossed the line as the hosts suffered a fifth defeat of the season and remain bottom of the table.

New signing Samantha Hallsworth was encouraged by the way her side responded to being two goals down and told the WSL website: “If we perform like that against some of the other teams we’ll be getting the results we need.

“In the first half we definitely stepped off them, we weren’t pushing enough, our aim was to get at them.

“Their game plan was the same as ours, go the fastest route up to the goal and play quickly so our opportunity then in the second half was to push them and try to get in at them as they were getting at us.”

Meanwhile, the Hornets have been drawn away to Liverpool Ladies in the fourth round of the Women’s FA Cup.

Liverpool are currently third in WSL1 and ties are scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 4.

Watford Ladies: Kitching; Fatuga-Dada, Hallsworth, Kerr, McShane; Babajide, Nuttall, Puddefoot (Bell 46), Petkova (Hill 76); Albert (Murray 46), Ward. Subs not used: Baranowska, Dickens, Hughes.