There was a mixture of frustration and dejection in the voice and body language of Watford Women head coach Damon Lathrope when he spoke after the 3-1 defeat to Sheffield United at Vicarage Road yesterday.

A crowd of more than 1,800 cheered his side from the first whistle to the last and saw the Hornets give a whole-hearted display, but Lathrope knew it was a missed opportunity to get something out of a game in a division where points are proving hard to come by.

To make matters worse, Lathrope felt his side made it all to easy for the Blades to head back north with the win.

“I think all three goals we conceded were cheap, in a way,” he said.

“They’ve not had to work really hard for their three goals, and that’s disappointing because we know we will concede goals in a league with very good teams.

“But we have to make sure those teams have to work hard to get goals against us, and today they made us pay for a couple of loose bits of play.”

Having gone behind early on, Watford levelled when Harley Bennett headed home her first goal for the club, and it was the Hornets who then had the better of the exchanges either side of half-time.

However, did they make good enough use of the spells when they were on top?

“Ultimately no because we’ve ended up losing 3-1,” Lathrope admitted.

“At 1-1 the game was finely balanced, when either team had the chance to really go and stamp their authority on things.

“We wanted that to be us, it’s what we tried to do, but it didn’t work out.”

Perhaps the turning point came in first-half stoppage time when top scorer Carly Johns looked set to give Watford a 2-1 lead, only for her shot to be cleared off the line.

“That would have been a big moment and given us a big boost going into half-time,” said Lathrope.

“They had their moments in the first half as well though, and I just felt the game was really balanced and poised with half an hour to go.

“Then they’ve gone and punished us to score their second, and in the end we didn’t really do enough to go and have a go.

“She’s a good player Isobel Goodwin, scores a lot of goals, and she does that for a reason: if she gets a chance she generally takes it.

“I don’t think we gave them bundles of chances but the ones they got, they made them count.

“I really did feel like this was an opportunity for us to kick on and build on a decent first-half performance, because we knew we had more in us.”

With Lewes beating London City, the defeat to United means Watford now drop to the bottom of the Championship table.

“At this stage we just need to look at ourselves and make sure we’re doing all we can and that we’re giving everything we’ve got,” said Lathrope.

“We know it’s going to be tough and we know the situation ain’t great, but Lewes are the least of our concerns because we’ve got to get above two teams.

“So we’re just going to keep focussing on ourselves, a week at a time, and see where that takes us.”