Watford Ladies put in a fantastic performance to secure a much-needed 3-2 win away at London Bees in the Continental Tyres Cup.
Ellie Mason, Anneka Nuttall and Tricia Gould were all on the scoresheet, with strikes of the spectacular variety for the Golden Girls.
The Bees twice pulled goals back through Gemma Fraser and Kate Bowers, however Watford held on to seal a deserved three points, and fifth place in Group One of the competition.
There were plenty of changes to the Lady Hornets’ side, with Shayla Burgess, Mollie Burgess, Josie Green, Tricia Gould and Ellie Mason all coming back into the fold.
Shayla Burgess was making her return from injury in goal and it wasn’t long until she was back in the swing of things, saving well from Ashleigh Goddard.
It was an entertaining start to proceedings with plenty of play in the attacking third, so it was no surprise that it didn’t take too long for the deadlock to be broken.
Mason has forged a reputation this season for great goals and she added another one to her collection. The forward turned towards goal and fired an effort into the bottom right hand corner from the edge of the area, giving Watford a 1-0 lead.
The advantage was doubled shortly afterwards and it was arguably even better than the first.
There appeared to be little on for Nuttall, however that didn’t stop her from unleashing a strike from 30-yards that found its way over opposition keeper Beth Davis and into the net.
Remarkably it was almost three before the break. An under-hit backpass gave Gould a one-on-one opportunity, however Davis kept her side in the game, producing a fine save.
Yet again, it would be a frantic opening to the second half as Gould had the ball in the net after less than a minute but it was ruled out for offside.
The hosts had made an encouraging start to the second 45 and found a way back into the match with 49 minutes on the clock. A ball over the top found Fraser and she calmly finished past Burgess to half the deficit.
It would have been easy for the momentum to switch after that setback, but Gould made sure it didn’t by restoring the two-goal lead just before the hour mark.
After Donnelly’s shot was blocked, the ball fell into her path and she perfectly picked out the top corner with a shot from distance, leaving Davis with no chance.
With a quarter of an hour to go, the match changed again as Bowers netted from close range for the Bees to ensure that it would be a grandstand finish.
Emma Whitter had come on as a substitute for the home side and was causing problems, she looked to have created a glorious chance for an equaliser but was denied by a fantastic last-ditch tackle by M Burgess.
Watford had a few looks on the counter to get that crucial fourth; the best opportunity saw Donnelly denied by an alert Davis.
There was time for one final chance for the home side in stoppage time – Whitter found space in the box but Burgess produced a great save to push it away at the near post.
After almost an additional six minutes had been played, the full-time whistle finally went and the Golden Girls had a well-deserved win for their efforts.
Watford LFC: S Burgess, Pepper, Robe, M Burgess, Tullett, Green (Littleboy 74), Donnelly, Farrow (Deacon 90), Nuttall (Read 65), Gould, Mason.
Subs not used: Witney, Zekai.
Goals: Mason (20), Nuttall (27) Gould (59).