Watford Ladies soared to the top of the FA Women's National League Southern Premier Division after a storming second half display saw them defeat Gillingham 4-0 in comfortable fashion on Sunday.

Wastefulness in front of goal meant that the scores were level at the interval, but a clinical performance after the break resulted in Watford netting four goals without reply.

Captain Helen Ward opened the scoring early in the second period, while Andrea Carid continued her fruitful scoring run with a brace and defender Emily Hill wrapped up the scoring late on.

Gillingham had the better of proceedings in the opening stages as the Hornets struggled to keep hold of the ball and produce any clear-cut chances. They had to wait until the 15th minute to create an opening, when Carid’s cross was narrowly missed by Adekite Fatuga-Dada.

Chances continued to come and go for the visitors throughout the first half with Carid, Ward and Fatuga-Dada failing to hit the target with good opportunities. Watford’s best chance came just before the break when Emma Beckett’s audacious free kick cannoned off the woodwork, so the scores stayed level at half-time.

It was almost a disastrous start to the second period for the Hornets, but Grace Harrison fired a great chance over Nina Wilson’s goal which would prove costly for Gillingham.

Watford regained control of the game and eventually opened the scoring on the hour. Ocean Rolandsen provided the assist, crossing beautifully to Ward to thump home a header to give the away side a deserved lead.

Carid doubled their lead shortly after, converting from close range after a fabulous run from Fatuga-Dada and the points were looking safe.

There was no respite for Gillingham, who were struggling to cope with the intensity and quality of the Watford attack. Substitute Elle Richards cracked the crossbar as the Hornets looked to put the result beyond any doubt.

Victory was virtually secured when the excellent Ward dribbled past two Gills defenders and squared for Carid to grab her second with ten minutes left on the clock.

Moments before the final whistle, defender Hill added some gloss to the score line when she nodded in at the back post from Beckett’s looping cross.

Gillingham never stopped fighting, with their best chance of the game coming from a long-distance strike hitting the woodwork but the Hornets held firm and returned home with all three points.