A fine all-round team performance earned a three-point reward as Watford Ladies returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over table-toppers Chichester City.

The decisive goal had a touch of fortune about it as the ball went in after hitting Danielle Scanlon, but such was the calibre of the Golden Girls’ display goalkeeper Weronika Baranowska was only forced into one save of note.

The win leaves the Hornets third in National League South, six points behind leaders Chichester but with a game in hand.

With captain Helen Ward returning having missed the defeat to MK Dons through international duty, Armand Kavaja made three other changes as Lauren Peck and Kat Huggins came in at full-back, while Leanne Bell made her first start following injury.

Sunday’s game saw Tammy Waine and Huggins exchange early shots, but what proved to be the only goal arrived in the 15th minute when Emily Hill’s goalbound shot was cleared, only for the ball to hit Scanlon and go in.

Blocked shots became an increasing theme of the match but just after the halfway point of the opening period Baranowska did well to tip over a Hollie Wride free-kick.

Bell saw a good opportunity repelled by City keeper Lauren Dolbear, who was then to be beaten by Ward, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.

Both sides had opportunities before half-time, with Molly Clark shooting wide for the visitors before a deflection took the sting out of a Katie O’Leary effort.

O’Leary was to be replaced by Linda Afuakwah at half-time due to injury, but such was the calibre of Watford’s display their opponents, who had scored in every game this season, were largely limited to half chances.

Indeed, as the visitors pushed forward in their quest for an equaliser after the break, the gaps began to appear for the Hornets on the counter attack.

The best of these opportunities saw Bell get away from a marker, only for her to be denied a goal by a fine save from Dolbear.

The Chichester keeper also denied Afuakwah after City’s best chance of a leveller had fallen to Jade Widdows, but a Watford deflection took it out for a corner.

Watford Ladies: Baranowska, Peck (Akerman, 76), Hill, Edwards, Huggins, Scanlon, Stojko-Down, Carid (Bell, 62), Ward, Bell, O’Leary (Afuakwah, 45).