By Chris Smith
Watford FC Ladies turned on the style in the SSE Women’s FA Cup on Sunday, scoring seven times in the win over Middlesbrough Women.
It was a particularly productive afternoon for Helen Ward, who netted four times, taking her tally to 12 goals from 11 appearances for the season.
“It was a bit more end-to-end than we would have liked,” the captain told watfordfc.com. “After at least two of our goals they had a chance pretty much from kick-off, which is a bit disappointing from our point of view.
“We need to learn to be a bit more switched on because against a tougher team we could well be punished.
“On the flip side when they scored, we responded really well, it was good that we didn’t let our heads drop. We kept going when they pulled one back at 2-0 and got our third straight away, which was positive, then in the second half we kept a clean sheet in that period and added a further three goals.
“We’re pleased with the result and to travel such a long way, it’s always nice to come home with a win and be into the next round.”
With Watford leading 4-2 at the break, the opposition were forced to commit more bodies forward. The Golden Girls exploited that beautifully in the second half, with Ward the beneficiary twice.
“I think the way we capitalised was testament to the way we played,” said Ward. “They were committing a lot of bodies forward. What we did well is when we stopped them from scoring, we used the ball well and were aware of the spaces that were opening up on the pitch.
“Especially in central areas we were exploiting that, getting it wide and then back into the middle for players to finish. We used a good amount of intelligence to do that and the link-up play between the midfield and forward players was really good.
“We put them to the sword a bit, we counter-attacked superbly and that’s where the majority of our goals came from in the second half.”
The result means Watford have now won their last three games, with two 1-0 victories followed up with a more emphatic success.
“It goes to show we’ve got more to our game than just one style of play,” explained Ward. “The Chichester and Buckland games showed that we’ve got a resilience about us and a real strong togetherness to stop the ball going into our own net.
“We could have possibly been better all over the pitch defensively today but going forwards I think we were exceptional and that shows, you don’t go away from home and score seven goals like that if you’re not a good side on the ball.
“It would be nice to put the two together and maybe come up with a 7-0 win!”