Watford Ladies 2 Cardiff City Ladies 1
Watford Ladies showed great determination to hold on to all three points against Cardiff as they maintained their winning start to the season.
A blockbuster from Shelby Hills and a cute finish from Jo Wilson gave the Hornets the win against a spirited Cardiff side.
The Hornets were slow out of the blocks and it was Cardiff who started the match strongly – and with just a quarter of an hour on the clock the visitors were awarded a penalty.
Zoe Atkins stepped up to take the spot-kick but Leah Blanchard in the Hornets goal pulled off a superb save to push the strike around the post.
Cardiff remained on top and only a good sliding tackle from Emma Beckett saw the Bluebirds denied as they had players over on the far post.
Sarah Wiltshire and Kate Natkiel were linking well down the right, however, and a good early shot from Jo Wilson gave the Hornets a foothold in the match.
Wiltshire then showed terrific strength and desire as she went through on goal, but Cardiff keeper Rhian Nokes thwarted her effort as Watford started to up the pressure.
Georgia Mays and Beckett combined to set up Natkiel down the flank, and she cut inside and struck a fierce shot that hit a post.
There was just enough time for Cardiff to narrowly miss the chance to take the lead as a goal-mouth scramble ensued, with the Hornets doing just enough to ensure the sides went in level at the break.
Wiltshire had a nice flick and shot as the Hornets started the second half well, and they got their goal in stunning fashion.
Hills lined up from all of 30 yards out, and let rip with a thunderous strike that crashed of the underside of the crossbar and down into the back of the net.
Natkiel had another chance to add to the Watford lead but couldn’t convert having had two bites at the cherry.
Beckett then had a towering header turned round the post as she found space on the back post.
The Golden Girls were looking the stronger side, but needed the cushion of a second goal as Cardiff still looked dangerous.
And it was Wilson who provided the strike that doubled the Watford lead as she broke the offside trap and slotted calmly past Nokes to make it 2-0.
Substitute Naomi Clipston gave the visitors hope as she produced a tidy low finish past Blanchard with ten minutes remaining, but the Hornets held on to claim all three points and move joint-top of the league.
Watford manager John Salomon was understandably happy with the win and said: “I’m delighted to secure another win today. It was a determined, inspired performance against a very good, well organised Cardiff side.
“We were missing a number of key players today so this win also highlights the strength in depth we now have at the club.
“It was also great to see our attendance go into triple figures again! The support since moving to Berkhamsted has been brilliant and I hope we can continue to encourage more and more fans to come and support us.”