First Team 24/02/2020

Foster: “We Have To Keep Our Heads Up”

Ben Foster knows how important a strong mentality will be going into the final months of this season and wants to see a reaction after a disappointing result at Old Trafford.

The goalkeeper admitted mistakes were made in the defeat against Manchester United but thinks there is enough quality in the squad to turn things around again.

“I’d say the first goal was a mistake from me, I should have held back really. I just thought I could get there, but he was really quick and got there first,” he said.

“The second half was disappointing, and we didn’t recover from the disallowed goal. We thought we’d got back into it, but it wasn’t to be, and we let our heads drop.

“It’s going to be a scrap to the end of the season. We gave them too much time and respect. We have to keep our heads up and keep fighting.”

The defeat at Old Trafford was a third in four games and felt like a sucker punch, especially as the Hornets thought they’d got back into the game in the second half only for Troy Deeney’s equaliser to be ruled out by a VAR decision.

Foster knows the team should have dusted themselves off and gone again after the goal was ruled out, but thinks the disappointment had an affect on the momentum of the game.

“If Troy’s goal stands it would have been very different, the goal being disallowed took the wind out of our sails,” he said.

“I’m not a big fan of the new handball rule. When it’s like it was today, it’s not handball for me. His arm is pressed to his body, but the new rule is what it is. You can’t let things like that affect you.”

The Hornets went six games unbeaten over the festive period to pull themselves back in touch with the pack and will need another run of form to climb out of the relegation zone.

Results elsewhere meant the team are no worse off in the battle for survival than they were going into this game week, but Foster wants to see more points on the board soon.

“Team spirit is going to be a huge part of this,” said the goalkeeper. “Results in other games were kind to us this weekend. We know we’ve got plenty of quality in the dressing room, so we can’t let things affect us emotionally.”

Ladies 24/02/2020

Ladies: Chichester 0-4 Watford

Watford progressed to the semi-final stage of the FAWNL Plate after beating Chichester City 4-0. Goals from Emma Beckett, Helen Ward, Megan Chandler and Danielle Scanlon secured the victory to earn the team a trip to Middlesbrough in the semis.

The Golden Girls had waited a long time to play this fixture, as the tie had been postponed three times due to adverse weather conditions. Such a big disruption to a fixture could throw some teams off their stride, but this was not the case for Clinton Lancaster’s side. Watford put on an impressive display of attacking football which every member of the team could be proud of.

Within the opening few minutes the Hornets had threatened to break the deadlock several times. Finally, after nine minutes, Emma Beckett scored when a loose ball fell to her from a corner. Almost immediately from kick-off, the captain doubled the Hornets’ lead. Ward was played through, rounded the goalkeeper and coolly slotted the ball into the net for her 12th goal of the season.

The fast start continued as the Golden Girls were relentless in their pressure both on and off the ball. Just as the hosts thought they could get a foothold in the tie, Megan Chandler put the game beyond them with a stunning 25-yard strike. The midfielder picked the ball up from deep and found the back of the net, giving the goalkeeper no chance, for her first goal for the club.

In the second half, Lancaster’s side continued to push on and apply pressure on the south coast side. Leanne Bell was back in the team after a four-month absence and nearly marked her return with a goal, but Isobelle Foster in the Chichester goal made an impressive double save.

The game had just passed the hour mark when Danielle Scanlon delivered a cross which took a deflection to send it past Foster and into the net. Despite the element of luck, the goal was a reward for the constant pressure and slick passing the side showed throughout the game.

Scanlon came close to adding another with a sweet strike, but the ball curled just wide of the goal and the game finished 4-0.

The result means Watford progress to the semi-final of the FAWNL Plate. Middlesbrough await the Golden Girls in the next round, and they travel to the North East on Sunday to face the side that sit seventh in the FAWNL North.

GOLDEN GIRLS | Wilson, Hill, Beckett, Richards, Bell (Huggins, 65), Scanlon, Chandler, Vyse, Harney, Ward (C) (O’Leary, 52), Fatuga-Dada (Carid, HT).

Goals | Beckett (9), Ward (10), Chandler (25), Scanlon (63)

LILLYWHITES | Foster, Burke (Phelps, HT), Lake, Howden, Laczkovszki, Collighan, Cook, White, Fox (C) (Simmonds, 61), Bell (Martins, 70), Staple.