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West Ham Utd 1 Watford 5
Watford claimed a place in the Fourth Round of the FA Women's Cup with a comprehensive 5-1 away win over West Ham United to earn another away tie with fellow WSL 2 club Sunderland.
Always in control against their Premier League opponents, the Golden Girls created a host of chances but were denied by brave defending and goalkeeping until a late flurry gave them a wide margin of victory, though West Ham notched a late consolation.
Watford had already forced two corners before taking a third minute lead when Emma Beckett's cross was headed wide of Lauren Picton. by Jo Wilson. Picton denied Wilson a second with a good save on ten minutes, then tipped away the resulting corner from under the bar. Sarah Wiltshire hit a post with a header from a Kate Natkel cross on 12 minutes then turned provider for Millie Gulley to head just over the bar as Watford totally dominated.
Danica Revell was having a fine game at the back for the Hammers, intercepting a series of crosses and making important challenges. Watford moved the ball in brisk fashion with Natkiel always dangerous on the right wing. Vicky King had West Ham's first effort on goal on 32 minutes but was back clearing off her line from a corner two minutes later. Bonnie Horwood had an effort on goal blocked by Revell as West Ham managed to reach the break still only one goal in arrears.
Watford doubled their lead seven minutes after the restart. A looping Natkiel cross was headed against the post and Wiltshire was on hand to calmly convert the rebound. Picton made two fine saves with strong hands to turn away powerful close range efforts from Wilson and Wiltshire but was powerless to prevent Wiltshire from converting Wilson's low cross from close range on 75 minutes.
Both sides made a flurry of substiutions and it was Wilson's replacement Madga Mosengo who notched the fourth. A long range Emma Beckett shot rebounded off the bar, Picton made a good save from Wiltshire's follow up but Mosengo was able to turn home the loose ball on 79 minutes.
Lindsey Morgan forced Shayla Burgess in the Watford goal to move smartly to catch a long range free kick and Cherrelle Albert added some fire to the Hammers' attack in the final period. However, it was Wiltshire, with an absolute beauty, who extended Watford's lead, jinking past two challenges before powering home her hat-trick goal from 15 yards.
Georgia Mays looked to have preserved Watford's clean sheet by clearing Albert's inswinging corner off the line but Burgess dropped a free kick by the same player and Morgan was on hand to net from close range on 90 minutes for some late consolation for the hosts.
Watford, in their first competitive match as a WSL club, looked to have a wide range of attacking options and played some fine passing football. West Ham worked hard to stem the tide of attacks but were unable relieve the pressure by offering a real threat of their own until late on in the match.
West Ham United: Lauren Picton, Vicky King, Emily Masters, Danica Revell, Katie Bottom, Jemma Beard, Stacey Little, Lily Mellors, Zoe Lipley-Hinton, Kelley Blanchflower, Lindsey Morgan. Subs: Sarah McCrae, Cherrelle Albert, Hayley West.
Watford: Shayla Burgess, Georgia Mays, Millie Gulley, Bonnie Horwood, Ellie Butterwick, Emma Beckett, Cally Rowell, Kate Natkiel, Megan Wynne, Jo Wilson, Sarah Wiltshire. Subs: Leah Blanchard, Paige Logie, Magda Mosengo, Renee Hector, Josie Green.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Bonnie Horwood clears away from Kelley Blanchflower
(middle) Lily Mellors is challenged by Cally Rowell
(bottom) Magda Mosengo scores past Lauren Picton for Watford's fourth goal
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