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Watford 2 (Donnelly 39, Dear pen 85) Yeovil Town 4 (Knapman 4, Bleazard 9, Heatherson 40,72)
Watford lost 4-2 to in-form Yeovil Town in an entertaining game, played in front of a record crowd for the Golden Girls at Berkhamsted.
465 were in attendance, which beat the previous record of 340 on the opening night of WSL2 last season.
The fans saw their side get off to a slow start, with Yeovil going two up inside ten minutes, thanks to goals from Natasha Knapman and Helen Bleazard. Stacie Donnelly pulled one back on 39 minutes but the visitors responded quickly making it 3-1 at the break through Ann Marie Heatherson. Having got the third, Heatherson grabbed her second and Yeovil's fourth with just over a quarter of an hour to play. Jenna Dear reduced the deficit from the penalty spot but Watford couldn't manage to mount a late comeback.
Both sides had to change their plans less than an hour before kick-off. Vanna Lee came in for her debut, replacing Emily Heaslip for the hosts, while Ebony Dover came in for Corinne Yorston for Yeovil.
With plenty of vocal encouragement from the stands, there was a great atmosphere around the ground, however the hosts were handed an early setback. Heatherson set the opening goal up, her cross picking out Knapman, who managed to get enough on her header to take it past Shayla Burgess in the net.
The lead was doubled shortly after and it was the same player again with the assist, teeing up a glorious chance for Bleazard who made no mistake, leaving Burgess with no chance.
Despite being two down early, Watford responded, with Kate Natkiel's audacious effort from distance only just going over. After a number of set piece situations, the Lady Hornets eventually found a way through, Donnelly taking advantage of some poor keeping and then calmly finishing into the top corner.
It looked like the momentum would switch, however one move ensured it didn't. Ellie Curson played a lovely through ball to Heatherson who, having set a couple up, found the back of the net herself to make it 3-1.
While it had been an eventful first half, the start to the second was completely different with very little of note happening in the first 20 minutes. Sasha Adamson came on as a half time substitute and looked lively, managing to test Charlotte Haynes in the Yeovil goal from distance.
Having been involved in all three goals, Heatherson would play a crucial part again to put her side 4-1 up, the forward firing in a free-kick from just outside the area.
Heads didn't drop amongst the Watford players and there was a glimmer of hope with five minutes to play. A tremendous run from Josie Green ended with her being tripped up in the penalty area. Dear stepped up to take it and placed her penalty perfectly in the bottom left hand corner, her second goal for the club.
Watford: Shayla Burgess, Mollie Burgess, Leighanne Robe, Grace Gillard, Vanna Lee (sub Sasha Adamson 45mins), Stacie Donnelly, Jenna Dear, Jodie Green, Hollie Wride, Kate Natkiel, Ellie Mason (sub Kim Farrow 85mins). Subs not used: Cherie Rowlands, Ellie Butterwick, Phoebe Read, Maddie Scheffer.
Yeovil Town: Charlotte Haynes; Ebony Dover, Natalie Haigh (sub Jordan Guard 79mins), Nicola Cousins, Ellie Issac, Ellie Curson, Paige Stewart (sub Alys Hinchcliffe 62mins), Stephanie Williams, Helen Bleazard, Ann Marie Heatherson (sub Amy Wathan 74mins), Natasha Knapman. Subs not used: Nicola Lipscombe, Stacey Pearson, Shauna Cossens.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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