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Watford 2 London Bees 3
London Bees overturned a two-goal deficit to beat Watford in the FAWSL Spring Series at King's Langley FC.
Two stunning strikes from Emma Beckett and Ashleigh Goddard brought Bees level midway through the second half then Jo Wilson struck the winner seven minutes from time. The much changed Watford squad competed well and looked to be on course for a first win under the leadership of Keith Boanas. but were undone by superb opportunist finishes from the visitors.
Bees created the first chances, Tricia Gould firing in a shot then Sophie Fogarty being denied by a good save from Lucy Gillett. Beckett threatened with two free kick efforts, one saved by Gillett, the other flying just wide. However, with Rinsola Babajide dangerous every time she got possession, Watford played themselves into the contest. The hosts took the lead when Babajide was brought down when through on goal and then calmly converted the penalty on 26 minutes.
Bees nearly equalised when a right wing cross found Goddard free but she missed her kick. Gillett made a very good save to tip a Lucy Loomes shot wide on 42 minutes whilst at the other end, Babajide set up Adekite Fatuga-Dada in front of goal but the shot was blocked for a corner.
Watford, playing against a very strong breeze after the break, were able to double their lead when a Meghan McKeag free kick was not dealt with and Vicky Neal was on hand to force the ball home on 49 minutes.
However, the home team's joy was extremely short lived as Emma Beckett scored straight from the restart, launching a perfect strike over Gillett from the halfway line. Lifted by this, the visitors piled on the pressure. Merrick Will came on to play at centre back, releasing Anne Meiwald to create danger from the right wing back role.
The second Bees goal came when Paula Howells won possession deep on the left side and her cross was headed out to the edge of the area for Goddard to volley the dropping ball high into the top right corner for a superb equaliser.
By now, momentum had swung in favour of the visitors and it was no surprise when the deciding goal went in favour of the Bees.
This time, it was a Howells corner which caused problems. Ruby Baxter seemed to saved Watford with a block to deny substitute Hana Lalani's goalbound shot, but the rebound fell to Jo Wilson who drove the ball high into the net to complete the comeback on 83 minutes.
Watford tried hard to find an equaliser in the final moments but the Bees stood firm. Despite a second narrow defeat for Watford in their opening Spring Series encounters, there were plenty of good performances from players old and new in front of an excellent attendance of 407 for the first fixture at their new home, whilst Bees showed great determination to fight back from a difficult position.
Lucy Gillett, Meghan McKeag, Vicky Neal, Anneka Nuttall, Rinsola Babajide, Chloe Bassett, Lauren Jordinson, Leah Cudone, Charlotte Kerr, Adekite Fatuga-Dada, Ruby Baxter. Subs: Cherrelle Albert, Caoimbe O'Reilly, Lilli Maple, Georgia Miller, Kerry Walklett.
Sophie Harris, Anne Meiwald, Amber Tullett, Sophie Fogarty, Jo Wilson, Emma Beckett, Lucy Loomes, Paula Howells, Tricia Gould, Ashleigh Goddard, Ellie Perkins. Subs: Hana Lalani, Merrick Will, Evie Clarke, Shayla Burgess, Jordan Littleboy.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Sophie Fogarty battles for the ball with Rinsola Babajide
(middle) Adekite Fatuga-Dada in a chase with Paula Howells
(bottom) Chloe Bassett in pursuit of Lucy Loomes
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