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London Bees 4 (Mallett 18,88, Nuttall 26,pen 80) Watford 5 (Beckett 10, Hector 17, Natkiel 32,54,60)
Watford won their first game back from the summer break, winning 5-4 over London Bees in an enthralling game at The Hive.
Kate Natkiel bagged a hat-trick with Emma Beckett and Renee Hector also on target as the Lady Hornets won their second WSL2 match of the campaign.
Watford started the game with a purpose and it only took ten minutes for the Golden Girls to take the lead. Cally Rowell's free kick perfectly picked out Beckett who powered her header home emphatically. It was almost 2-0 only three minutes later, Jo Wilson unselfishly squared the ball across to Megan Wynne who looked certain to score but a Bees defender fantastically got back to deny her.
On 17 minutes, it was two as the Bees failed to deal with Rowell's corner and it fell nicely to Hector who doubled the lead from 12 yards out.
London Bees responded well to the setback, immediately pulling one back only a minute afterwards. Chontele Lawrence's free kick was spilled and Dawn Mallett was on hand to tap home.
Despite the promising start from Watford, after 26 minutes it was back all square. Mallett won the ball in the attacking third before playing it to Nuttall who made it 2-2.
The game would only be level for six minutes as Watford got the third goal their performance deserved. After some good work between Emma Beckett and Natkiel, the latter's cross-cum-shot looped into the corner for 3-2.
After a first half full of action, there was a rare lull in the game as little happened prior to the break, the score staying the same until half time.
Beckett was playing in a more advanced role and she was getting her opportunities, a fierce 25-yard effort was well tipped over by Sophie Harris.
The fourth goal looked like it was coming and it did on 54 minutes. While there may have been doubts over Natkiel's intentions for the first goal, her second was a fantastic strike that left Harris with no chance.
Jo Wilson didn't manage to get on the scoresheet but she was incredibly unlucky not to, her fine chip over Harris coming back off the post.
It was a fantastic opening fifteen minutes to the second half from Watford and it was 5-2 on the hour with Natkiel getting her hat-trick. A good run and cross from Ellie Butterwick found Wilson who laid the ball off to Natkiel, the winger placing her effort past Harris into the bottom corner.
London Bees were afforded a way back into the game when they were awarded a penalty but Amber
Gaylor hit the bar from the spot and Shayla Burgess superbly saved Lucy Loomes' effort from the rebound.
After 80 minutes, London Bees were awarded another penalty with Gunn adjudged to have fouled Mallett in the box. Nuttall this time stepped up and put her penalty past Burgess to her right to make it 5-3.
An interesting last few minutes ensued after London Bees made it a one goal game on 88 minutes. Burgess' attempted punch from the free-kick fell to Mallett who made no mistake. However the Watford defence held firm to secure an important victory in a nine-goal thriller.
London Bees: Sophie Harris, Samantha Carson, Sam Chappell, Billie Brooks, Chontele Lawrence (sub Hannah Samuels 77mins), Aoife Hurley, Howells, Amber Gaylor, Sydney Hinchcliffe (sub Lucy Loomes 55mins), Anneka Nuttall, Dawn Mallett. Subs not used: Cherie Rowlands, Charlotte Herson, Laura Miller.
Watford: Shayla Burgess, Georgia Mays, Chloe Gunn, Renee Hector, Ellie Butterwick, Cally Rowell, Josie Green (sub Emily Heaslip 86mins), Kate Natkiel, Emma Beckett, Megan Wynne (sub Magda Mosengo 84mins), Jo Wilson (sub Gemma Bryan 77mins). Subs not used: Deger Zekai, Sarah Wiltshire, Stacie Donnelly.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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