WATFORD Ladies were left to rue a missed penalty as they went down to a 1-0 defeat against Brighton at Gaywood Park on Wednesday.

The only goal, which was scored by Fern Whelan, arrived five minuets before the half-time interval and ensured a spirited Watford display went unrewarded.

The Golden Girls started the game the brighter of the two sides and saw a penalty appeal turned down when Linda Afuakwah’s cross hit the arm of Fliss Gibbons in the 10th minute.

Brighton then grew into the game and Kirsty Barton saw a dipping shot go just wide and Fran Kitching had to make a smart stop soon after.

She could do nothing to prevent the Seagulls scoring the go-ahead goal before half-time when Whelan’s miscued shot somehow found the net.

Watford pushed forward in search of a leveller after the break, but it was Brighton who looked the more likely and they were unfortunate to see Jenna Legg’s effort crash off the bar.

The home side would be their own worst enemy ultimately when a foul on Adekite Fatuga-Dada earned them a penalty.

Helen Ward stepped up but couldn’t convert and the chance at a share of the spoils went begging.

The mid-week loss added to Watford’s recent misery against Brighton and came on the back of a 4-1 defeat to the same opposition on Sunday.

The away clash was a far more one-sided affair than the pairs’ meeting at Gaywood Park and the Golden Girls were no match for their high-flying opposition.

Despite the heavy defeat, it was Watford who made the early running and they took a shock lead when Simona Petkova found the net.

That was as good as it got for Watford though as Danielle Buet’s penalty soon restored parity.

Ini Umotong, Brownwen Thomas and Barton then added three more strikes to leave Watford reeling as they fell to a heavy defeat to their FA WSL 2 title-chasing opposition.