Second half show from Doncaster Rovers Belles sinks the Golden Girls

Action from Watford Ladies' clash with Doncaster. Picture (c) Andy Rowland
Action from Watford Ladies' clash with Doncaster. Picture (c) Andy Rowland

Watford Ladies put in a good and spirited performance despite falling 3-1 at home to Doncaster Rovers Belles.

A fine first half display saw the Golden Girls ahead 1-0 at the break thanks to Jo Wilson’s 40th minute strike.

But the Belles showed their quality in the second 45 as a Bethany England double and a Reanne Thomas effort helped secure the victory.

Watford made an encouraging start to the game, both defending well and keeping possession of the ball.

Doncaster then started to get into the game more; first Courtney Sweetman-Kirk headed straight at Lauren Davey before Victoria Williams headed over from a corner.

Some superb defending from Josie Green kept it scoreless – Sue Smith’s effort was goal bound but Green got back to clear it off the line.

The Lady Hornets forced Hobbs into action after 32 minutes, good work from Kim Farrow in keeping hold of the ball allowed Megan Wynne to get a 20-yard shot away which was well saved.

Defensively Watford were superb all half but when they got the chance to go forward they did, taking the lead after 40 minutes.

Again good work from Farrow saw the ball played through to Wilson, who showed composure to finish past Hobbs into the bottom corner.

Watford were finishing the half the stronger and Wynne sent a great ball into the box but a yellow shirt couldn’t get on the end of it.

The half-time whistle went and Watford led 1-0 at the break, no more than their effort levels deserved.

Davey had little to do in the Watford goal during the first half but she went on put in an excellent performance in the second as the Belles started to create more chances.

She was alert early on in the opening stages of the second period, preventing an own-goal with a super fingertip save.

Doncaster would equalise a minute later, however, despite Davey’s best efforts. The Watford keeper saved well from Millie Bright but the ball was played back for England to tap in and make it 1-1.

Davey continued her fine form, tipping Lipka’s 30-yard effort over via a little help from the crossbar.

However, with 60 minutes on the clock, the visitors took the lead. Sweetman-Kirk played the ball through to England who powered it into the bottom right hand corner.

Three minutes later, Davey produced arguably her best save of the game as Sweetman-Kirk’s effort from ten yards out was fantastically pushed away.

The hosts were finding it hard to create chances in the second half – a free-kick was cleared to Stacie Donnelly but she could only shoot wide.

Doncaster got the crucial third goal with 15 minutes of the game remaining as Williams crossed towards the back post, finding Thomas to make it three.

While no one could argue that the visitors didn’t deserve the win, both the effort and performance levels from Watford show that the next three points aren’t far around the corner.