A second late goal in the space of five days from Helen Ward was once again rewarded with three points as Watford Ladies continued their encouraging start to the new campaign with a 2-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers last night.

It looked increasingly like the Golden Girls might have to settle for a point after Linda Afuakwah’s first-minute opener was cancelled out before the break by Mara DeLuca. But having scored the winner with three minutes remaining at Oxford United on Saturday, the Hornets’ skipper struck again with seven minutes left to secure a third straight victory for Armand Kavaja’s side and move them up to third in Women’s National League South.

Emily Hill and Katie Akerman came into the side and they couldn’t have wished for a better start to their Watford league debuts as the hosts struck early at Kings Langley FC.

Katie O’Leary received the ball on the right and her low cross was converted by Afuakwah at the far post.

The scorer could have doubled her tally soon after but she was unable to find the target after being picked out by a good ball from Kat Huggins.

But Watford were inches away from making it 2-0 when O’Leary struck the crossbar after her strike from inside the penalty area had looked to be heading inside the top corner.

Kavaja’s team continued to look the more likely to score the next goal before the break, with a superb tackle denying Leanne Bell after she had gone round the Rangers goalkeeper before Huggins let fly with a strike which didn’t quite dip enough.

But Rangers were to level in impressive fashion when DeLuca hit a 30-yard strike which beat Weronika Baranowska via the woodwork.

The Watford keeper was then called into action to deny Sandeep Tak, but the best save of the opening half was to come from opposite number Gillian Kasirye, who did superbly to keep out a Hill header from a corner before her follow-up was cleared off the line by Katie Knell.

It took some time in the second half for a clear chance to arrive, but Ward was inches away from putting the hosts back in front when she struck a low effort which hit the far post after doing superbly to create the opening for herself by beating Victoria Grieve to the ball.

Wales’ record scorer was not to be denied with seven minutes of normal time remaining though, when a long pass forward found its way through to the striker and she took a touch before firing into the bottom corner.

The Hornets also had to negotiate six minutes of stoppage time before they could celebrate the win, but the closest the visitors came was when a Whitney Locke shot was well saved by Baranowska.

The victory made it four wins out of five in all competitions for the Ladies this season and they will hope to make it a fifth on Sunday at Portsmouth Women.

Watford Ladies: Baranowska, Hallsworth, O’Halloran, Hill, Huggins, Scanlon, Akerman (Stojko-Down, 53), Bell, Ward, Afuakwah (Carid 46), O’Leary (Baker 72). Subs not used: Martin, Peck.