First Team 06/01/2020

Chalobah: “We’ve Got To Dust Ourselves Off And Go Again”

By Kevin Affleck

Nathaniel Chalobah is adamant the draw against Tranmere in the FA Cup on Saturday should not detract from the feel-good factor surrounding the thrilling Christmas revival.

The Hornets blew a three-goal lead at home to the League One side and now face an awkward replay at Prenton Park. But Chalobah, who stroked in the second goal, offered a bit of perspective afterwards, believing it was just a bump in the road, one of those things that can happen in the cup and that it should be remembered that the Golden Boys are still in the hat for the next round.

“If you look back a few months ago, we are in a completely different situation now,” Chalobah said on Added Time. “We've now got a bit of momentum and we have to keep going. It's a draw – it wasn't a defeat, even though it feels like one to us personally and maybe to the fans – and now we've got a chance to put it right at their place.

“The gaffer and Shakey have come in and changed the vibe of the place and the mentality of the boys and all Watford fans are enjoying themselves and have got that feeling back. I don't think anything should change. We are going to need them to get behind us when we go to Bournemouth. We don't have time to dwell on anything.”

Nigel Pearson will have reiterated that point in the dressing room. He was far from happy at the way the team allowed Tranmere back into the game, and would have voiced that in no uncertain terms, but he will be keen to draw a line under it, learn the lessons and move onto the key game at the Vitality Stadium.

“What he said was plain and simple,” said Chalobah. “First that we need to be disappointed with ourselves that we let a 3-0 lead slip, but we are still in the competition and have a chance to put things right. It's a learning curve for the young lads... but it's not the end of the world. We are still in the competition and get a second chance and you don't [usually] get that.”

Chalobah was replaced at half-time after scoring his first goal for the club since April 2013 and the team never really played with the same tempo again without their England midfielder.

“I am carrying a knock and the way the squad is at the minute, we don't have a huge amount of numbers,” he said. “Today was an opportunity for the lads that haven't been playing, like Tom [Dele-Bashiru] and Dom [Quina] and I put myself in that category. With the injuries we have it was more precaution [taking me off] than anything. It was a decision that had to be made, but we should have still held on for the result.

“I didn't get showered and changed as I wanted to come out and support the boys. It was difficult to watch. Part of me wishes I was still out there playing but... this is football. They got the momentum after scoring the first goal and kept coming and coming. We've just got to dust ourselves off and go again.”

Ladies 06/01/2020

Ladies: Watford 5-0 Plymouth

Watford FC Ladies’ first game of 2020 ended in a resounding victory in The Women’s FA Cup against Plymouth Argyle.

The Golden Girls dominated the game and spent the majority of their time camped in the Plymouth half. Ryah Vyse set the tone for the afternoon in the opening minutes by beating her opponent and hitting the post from range.

The game settled into a rhythm of Emily Hill and Ocean Rolandsen linking up along the right channel, putting threatening crosses into the box.

Finally, the pressure paid off for the Golden Girls in the 29th minute. Ocean Rolandsen’s cross was initially blocked but she was able to turn her defender to create some space. The winger floated a ball to the back post where Katie O’Leary finished.

Seven minutes later, O’Leary doubled the Hornets’ lead. Picking the ball up deep, the forward drove at Plymouth’s defence. A tightly-marked Helen Ward worked some space for O’Leary to play a one-two with her captain, who fed the ball perfectly through for a coolly slotted finish.

On the stroke of half-time, another marauding run from Rolandsen ended in her picking out Alysha Stojko-Down on the edge of the box. She connected with a fierce goal-bound strike, but Katie Middleton was in the way.

Minutes after the second half kicked off, O’Leary completed her hat-trick. Andrea Carid fought off her marker and knocked the ball past Lydia Huntley to give her a chance to hang the ball up to the back post. Yet again, O’Leary met the ball first and saw it home for her first hat-trick for the club.

Watford goalkeeper Chrissie Wiggins was called into action a few times at the start of the second half but she was equal to any effort that Argyle mustered. Faye Ivall worked a chance on the edge of the Hornets’ area but Wiggins’ quick feet helped her collect the ball.

Jenny Kikomeko was forced off after 52 minutes for Danielle Scanlon, after picking up an injury on her first start since the opening weekend of the season. The Golden Girls then brought on Adekite Fatuga-Dada for Ryah Vyse after her relentless 66-minute shift down the left wing.

The game remained 3-0 as the clock hit 90 minutes, but the hosts were not finished yet. In the fifth minute of added time, Ward made it four for the Golden Girls. Fatuga-Dada won a free kick just inside the Hornets’ half and quick-thinking Emma Beckett launched the ball over the Argyle defence to give the captain her chance. Ward had put in hard graft all game and, when the opportunity came, she made no mistakes to claim her goal.

Even then, there was more to come. Two minutes later, in the seventh additional minute, Scanlon completed the scoring for the Hornets. The midfielder picked up the ball on the edge of the Argyle area, shifted around the incoming defender and bent the ball over the 'keeper to find the back of the net.

The Golden Girls go through to the next round of The Women’s FA Cup, and the draw will take place on Monday January 6 at 5pm on TalkSport2.

HORNETS | Wiggins, Hill, Beckett, Richards, Vyse (Fatuga-Dada, 66), Rolandsen, Kikomeko (Scanlon, 52), Stojko-Down (Chandler, 79), Carid, Ward (C), O’Leary

GOALS | O’Leary (29, 36, 48), Ward (90+5), Scanlon (90+7)