Having conceded 21 goals in the league this season, Watford Women coach Damon Lathrope tweaked his team’s shape and style in order to tighten up at the back and was rewarded with a 0-0 draw at Reading.

It was their first clean sheet of the season and ended a run of six straight defeats.

“It’s no secret we’ve conceded a lot of goals, so the focus was on making sure we were still in the game at half-time,” he said.

“We were still in the game, although we weren’t brilliant in the first half. We weren’t good in possession but we restricted what they could create.

“I think confidence comes from getting success in whatever you’re doing, and because we didn’t concede that meant we grew in confidence.

“I never felt uneasy on the sideline that Reading were pushing for a goal. If anything, I’m probably a little bit disappointed we didn’t capitalise on the periods of pressure we had.

“We saw today as an opportunity to take points. We certainly couldn’t afford to lose, in the situation we are at the moment with them just above us.

“We have to look back on it and take the positives from it. Our first clean sheet of the season and we looked a lot more secure, and the players showed they are up for the gritty side of the game which is an attitude we’re going to need in abundance.”

Goalkeeper Jacqui Goldsmid only returned to the recently. She missed the start of the campaign with a finger injury but was then thrust back into the team when on-loan Liv Clarke was recalled by parent club Bristol City.

It was a superb save from Goldsmid early in the second half which kept Reading out, and created a platform on which Watford went on to have the better of the remainder of the game.

“I think Jacqui would say herself she’s been disappointed with her performances since she had this opportunity, and she may not have expected this opportunity to come about,” said Lathrope.

“But today was what we expect of Jacqui. She made a big save when we needed her to and that’s what goalies are there for.

“I can’t remember them having too many other clear-cut chances but the one they did have, when we needed her, she was there.”

In the last quarter of the game Watford spent good spells in the final third, without ever being able to get a decent effort away.

“I did feel there was going to be a big chance for us as the game wore on. We spent longer in their half, whereas in the first half the pressure was more on us,” Lathrope said.

“The roles were reversed in the second half and we got a little bit of momentum going.

“We just needed something to fall for us. There were a lot of blocks and ricochets in the last 30 minutes and we needed something to land in our path.”

Lathrope’s counterpart with the men’s team, Valerien Ismael said recently that it was a case of “needing to stop the bleeding” when Watford ended a run of three defeats by grinding out a draws at Cardiff.

“Yeah, I do 100 per cent get that,” said Lathrope.

“It’s tough when you play a certain way – and the players are very good at it – but there are some times when you have to give a little bit in order to get a result.

“We knew we’d been conceding too many goals and we had to stop that before we did anything else.

“We worked really hard during the week to give ourselves the best chance of making sure we stayed in the game, so the point in that respect is really pleasing.

“The next step is to get back to being a really good footballing team and start getting more wins and draws.”