It’s been the nemesis all season long and a winning goal conceded from a corner condemned Watford Women to a 2-1 defeat at Lewes that leaves them with a huge job on their hands to avoid relegation from the Championship.

They are now six points adrift of safety with only five league games to go and, while they still have to play Reading who are the team they have to catch, opportunities and time are running out.

As in the defeat at Sheffield United in midweek, Watford went a goal down early on before they had time to settle into the game.

That lifted Lewes who then ran the show for the rest of the half and, just when Watford had half an eye on getting to half-time without only a one-goal deficit, they conceded again from a corner.

The Hornets were not given what looked a clear penalty in the second half and pulled one back right at the death, but that second goal so late in the first half was decisive.

Four minutes in Poppy Wilson crossed from the right and, when the ball was headed half away, Annie Rossiter sent a volley just wide.

In the next attack Coral Haines made space in the box but her shot was charged down.

Lewes had the ball in ten net after 10 minutes but the assistant referee had the flag up for offside well before the ball went in.

Haines was so close to breaking the deadlock after 13 minutes when, after checking onto her right foot inside the box, she curled a shot that beat Whitehouse but cannoned back off the post.

However, it was the home side that broke the deadlock on the quarter-hour. Hamilton sent Claypole away down the left and when she crossed Riglar turned the ball in from six yards.

In the 27th minute Heuchan drove a deep free-kick from the right and Garrad was allowed a free header but steered it wide of the upright.

Conceding the goal appeared to take the wind totally out of Watford and, aside from a scuffed shot wide and a free-kick well over the bar, they offered very little going forward.

At 1-0 down with a opportunity to regroup during the interval, there was the chance to pretty readily turn things around.

However, that all changed in the first minute of stoppage time.

Braseiro-Carreira got to the by-line on the right and clipped a cross that hit the bar. Farrugia followed up and her shot was blocked by Lucia Leon at the expense of a corner.

From the set piece Farrugia centred and Riglar got to the ball first in a crowded six-yard box to head home.

It was a goal that left Watford with it all to do and, to their credit, they came out after the break and took the game to the home side.

Six minutes into the second half Wilson controlled a clearance 25 yards out and let fly with a dipping shot that Whitehouse had to tip over the bar.

Substitute Bianca Baptiste then chased down the ball 25 yards, stole it and hit a shot that had power but was straight at Whitehouse.

In the 71st minute Carly Johns ran onto a flick into the box and appeared to be tripped. It happened right in front of the assistant referee, but nothing was given.

Ten minutes from time Claypole played a neat one-two on the left and struck a shot that debutant on-loan keeper Beth Howard did well to parry before scrambling to smother the loose ball.

In the first minute of stoppage time Watford grasped a lifeline.

A corner was cleared as far as Gemma Davison who struck a low shot that hit a defender and landed perfectly for Johns to slide it in at the back post.

Watford threw everything at Lewes in the six minutes of stoppage time but the damage was done at set pieces in the first half.

Watford: Howard; Leon, Lafayette, Fleming (Palisch 87), Meiwald, McLean, Johns, Rossiter (Davison 70), Head (Baptiste 55), Wilson (Chandler 87), Haines. Subs not used: Harris, Georgiou