Former favourite Wiltshire comes back to deny the Golden Girls all three points

Action from Watford Ladies' clash with Yeovil. Picture (c) Andrew Waller
Action from Watford Ladies' clash with Yeovil. Picture (c) Andrew Waller

Watford Ladies played out an entertaining 1-1 draw against Yeovil Town in their final home game of the season.

Kate Natkiel opened the scoring for the Golden Girls with a fantastic strike that went in off the bar during first half stoppage time.

However Sarah Wiltshire came back to haunt her former club with less than 20 minutes to go, denying the home side the victory their performance deserved.

The opening 15 minutes of the game saw both sides start well, although neither managed to test the two keepers.

Kim Farrow forced Rachel Simkin into her first save shortly after, her looping header from Jo Wilson’s cross was well kept out by the Yeovil goalkeeper.

Watford were getting joy down the two flanks and were sending numerous dangerous crosses into the box through Wilson, Natkiel and Megan Wynne.

The Yeovil defence managed to deal with them well, however Rachel Edwards almost diverted one of Wynne’s deliveries into her own net.

Ellie Butterwick’s positioning on the post proved vital on 35 minutes, the left-back clearing a goal bound effort from Paige Stewart.

The end of the half would prove hectic with both sides creating plenty of chances; Lauren Davey tipped a Laura Bray effort out for a corner and then down the other end Natkiel volleyed just over.

Davey, who was making her final home appearance, fantastically denied a header from Nicola Cousins just before first half stoppage time.

Then, in the second minute of added time, Watford took the lead. Chloe Gunn with some good work in midfield before playing it out to Natkiel who hammered a shot off the crossbar and into the net.

The Lady Hornets started the second half well as they looked to extend their lead. A quick counter saw Wilson pick out Hollie Wride but the defender couldn’t test Simkin in the Yeovil goal.

Just before the hour, a long ball over the top found Farrow, she looked up and picked out Wilson but the first time shot was just over.

The Watford striker was continuing to find space away from her marker. Wynne set up a counter by running half the length of the pitch before finding Wilson, who sent a difficult effort wide.

It was proving to be one of those unlucky days in front of goal; a Wride corner went all the way through to Wilson but her strike came back off the crossbar.

Soon, another chance – Natkiel got away from her defender and stayed on her feet before picking out Wynne who placed it just over.

It was a hugely impressive 10-minute attacking display from the hosts but that crucial second goal just wouldn’t come.

Then against the run of play on 71 minutes, Yeovil equalised. Helen Bleazard sent the free-kick in and Wiltshire headed past Davey, scoring against her former club and levelling it up.

Heads didn’t drop and Watford continued to enjoy great possession in the attacking third as they looked to take the lead again.

A good passing move ended with the ball finding Josie Green at the edge of the box, however the Welsh international’s strike was narrowly over.

Salomon’s side were forcing plenty of corners and that was the source of the last chance, with Wride heading wide.

Despite not managing to get the three points, it was an impressive performance from Watford with plenty of positives to focus on.

Manager John Salomon was impressed with the amount of opportunities his side created, saying: “We created more chances today than the whole season put together. Particularly in the second half we were fantastic going forward.

“We worked on that this week, we’ve looked at getting more players forward in supporting areas and it worked, now we’ve just got to work on finishing!

“So many good chances were created today and on another day there could have been a high margin between the two clubs.”

A key part of the game was the problems that Watford managed to cause in the wide areas, with numerous dangerous crosses being sent into the box.

While happy with his wide players, Salomon was pleased with the performance as a whole: “The wide players were superb, the deliveries of the balls into the channels to them was good as well.

“I was really pleased, they just kept going and the thing that pleased me most was that they all did it together.

“It wasn’t just the wide players delivering the crosses, it was the whole team supporting by getting the ball to them, plus the movement of the front players into the box to go and attack the crosses.”

One of those wide players, Natkiel, opened the scoring with a fantastic strike just before the end of the first half.

“Natters’ goal was superb,” Salomon explained. “She got goal of the season last year, we’ll do a vote on it but I think that’s going to take some beating this season.

“It’s a fantastic strike, she’s one-on-one with the player, beaten the full back and then smashed it in off the underside of the bar from 20/25 yards, it’s a wonder strike and she’s certainly got that in her locker.”

Having had a dominant spell in the second half where they couldn’t add to their lead, the Golden Girls were punished by a Yeovil equaliser against the run of play, with ex-Watford player Wiltshire getting it.

Despite being denied three points, pride is a key emotion for Salomon: “Sarah’s a match winner, a goal scorer and she’s always going to cause problems. I actually thought we had defended very well against her and Yeovil as a whole today.

“Unfortunately we go through that spell where you’re missing chances and then they’ve gone and scored a header from a set piece out of the blue a little bit.

“It’s disappointing but the most important thing is we’re coming to the end of the season now and we want to finish on a high.

“The girls are so proud of themselves for that performance and should be because they’ve given everything today and they deserve more.”