Defeat to bottom side Lewes made it four straight losses for Watford Women who now only stay off the bottom of the Championship table on goal difference.

And, once again, their undoing came from their inability to deal with balls into the box as the visitors – who had only scored one league goal this season before today – went ahead early on when Watford didn’t deal with a cross and then won it late on with a header from a corner that was really all too simple.

The Golden Girls could easily have won the game and should have gone home with a point, hitting the woodwork twice and seeing goalscorer Bianca Baptiste miss the target with an 89th-minute free header.

However, their failure to turn long spells of possession during the second half into chances was particularly disappointing and always meant the door was ajar for Lewes to punish them.

In fact there was almost an air of inevitability when the visitors did get the winner, and particularly the manner in which it was scored.

Until Watford find a way of dealing with crosses and set pieces, opponents are going to play on that obvious Achilles’ heel and get the ball in the mixer at every opportunity.

Damon Lathrope’s side also have to quickly start delivering more end product. The way they move the ball around, patiently build from the back and look to play through the thirds is good to watch, but continually flounders due to their failure to be more effective in the final third.

Losing to the bottom side in the league should provide a wake-up call, if one were needed, that staying in the Championship this season was never going to be a stroll in the park.

They have the players, they have the style of play and they have the determination. Currently, though, the sum of the parts is not adding up to enough.

There were two changes to the team that faced Southampton in the Championship a week ago.

Leading scorer Carly Johns suffered a slight ankle knock in that game and dropped to the bench with Ellie Head.

In came Baptiste for her first league start of the season, while Gemma Davison started a league game for the first time since the opening day.

Both sides took time to settle and the first attempt on goal came after 10 minutes when visiting keeper Emily Moore held Coral Haines’ 20-yard effort.

However, there was a setback for the Golden Girls two minutes later as Lewes took the lead with their first league goal since the opening day of the season.

It was another failure to deal with a ball from the flanks that was their undoing as they didn’t clear Reanna Blades’ cross from the left and when it ran to Lewes skipper Caragh Hamilton at the back of the six-yard box she rifled a rising shot past Sophie Harris.

That was Lewes’ first league goal in more than eight and a half hours of football, but Watford were only behind for six minutes.

Midfielder Laila Harbert’s sublime ball from midfield belied her 16 years of age, allowing Baptiste to stride into the box and coolly guide a low shot under the advancing keeper.

The game spent a period trapped in the middle third before Watford were incredibly unlucky not to go ahead on the half-hour mark.

Haines floated a ball into the box and Baptiste stretched to prod a volley beyond Hamilton, only to see it come back off the crossbar.

It ran loose and Sophie McLean strode onto it, lashing a drive past Hamilton and a covering defender, but against the underside of the bar. The ball dropped and broke loose and Baptiste was first to react, only to see Hamilton recover and smother at her feet.

A minute into stoppage time Harley Bennett’s pass enabled Baptiste to send in a shot which Hamilton did well to tip away.

Lewes didn’t clear and when the ball ran to Lucia Leon on the edge of the box she unleashed a dipping shot which Hamilton tipped over the bar.

Then, in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Lewes won a penalty when Bennett pushed over the breaking Blades in the box.

Grace Palmer tried to place the spot-kick in the bottom corner but Harris guessed correctly and blocked the effort before doing exceptionally well to get back to her feet and save the follow-up effort from close range.

Four minutes after the restart Hollie Olding stole the ball in midfield, spotted Harris offer her line and saw her speculative effort to catch the keeper out roll just wide.

Watford Observer: Sophie McLean hit the side-netting with this second-half chanceSophie McLean hit the side-netting with this second-half chance (Image: Andrew Waller Images)

The second half was scrappy with fewer chances, but in the 62nd minute a clever dinked pass from Haines allowed McLean to get into the box on the left. She took the ball down but with the angle narrowing all the time sent her shot into the side netting.

Watford should have done better 10 minutes later when a patient and tidy build-up ended with Baptiste cleverly turning just outside the box to create space for substitute Johns. She helped the ball across the box for the incoming Head, but her low shot was held by Hamilton.

The decisive goal – and the first time Lewes have scored two in an away match since March – arrived in the 87th minute and it was a painfully familiar story for Watford.

Amelia Hazard sent a corner over from the left and Grace Riglar rose well to direct a header back across goal and into the net.

Yet there was still time for Watford to be left wondering how they didn’t equalise as, two minutes later, Leon crossed from the right and Baptiste was presented with a free header inside the six-yard box, but sent it wide.

It could have been worse for the Golden Girls as, deep into stoppage time, Mooney intercepted a ball out from the back and rolled it to Blades but she somehow scooped it over the empty net from six yards.

Watford: Harris, Leon, McLean, Davison (Johns 58), Baptiste, Rossiter (Head 51), Bennett, Harbert, Chandler, Haines, Reid (Meiwald 87). Subs not used: Dowsett, Lafayette, Georgiou, Palisch, Henson