Record numbers watch as Watford Ladies lose to Villa

Chloe Gunn, pictured in action for Watford Ladies against Keynsham Town Ladies earlier this season. Photo (c) Andrew Waller
Chloe Gunn, pictured in action for Watford Ladies against Keynsham Town Ladies earlier this season. Photo (c) Andrew Waller

Watford Ladies fell to a 4-1 defeat to Aston Villa, but it was a remarkable day for the club as more than 1,000 fans turned out at Vicarage road to watch the WSL2 clash.

Cheered on by a record crowd of 1102, Watford struck first thanks to Megan Wynne’s seventh minute effort.

But Villa were clinical and took their chances, with goals from Katie Wilkinson, Kerri Welsh and an Alicia Robinson double handing them the win.

With tremendous noise coming from the Sir Elton John stand, Watford made the dream start as Hollie Wride’s corner found Wynne who slotted home to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead.

Buoyed by the opening goal, the yellows looked like doubling their lead. Good build-up ended with Kate Natkiel trying an audacious lob from 25-yards out, which landed on top of the net.

Unfortunately, the hosts were forced into a change shortly afterwards as Chloe Gunn had picked up a knock from an earlier corner and had to be taken off.

Jenna Dear came on for her debut and was in the thick of the action straight away, almost finishing a superb passing move.

But shortly afterwards, Villa equalised as Alicia Robinson’s central free-kick was headed home by Kerri Welsh into the bottom right hand corner, leaving Shayla Burgess with no chance.

Watford weren’t deterred and still looked like finding a second. A lovely through-ball from Stacie Donnelly sent Anneka Nuttall through one-on-one, however Caitlin Leach denied the striker well.

It was end-to-end action and, only a minute later, Villa took the lead. There was nothing anyone in a yellow shirt could do as Robinson unleashed a cracking strike from 25-yards out.

The game was still well in the balance, until a crucial decision went against the hosts as Burgess was adjudged to have brought down Olivia Fergusson in the box – although it appeared that the keeper had managed to get the ball.

Wilkinson made no mistake from the spot, placing her penalty right into the corner to put Villa 3-1 ahead.

It was a harsh scoreline on Watford, and it got even worse only a minute later as Robinson got her second of the afternoon.

The second half saw a battling performance from Watford, with plenty of possession in the attacking third as they looked to find a way back into the game.

On as a substitute, Dawn Mallett tested Leach with a free-kick from the angle but the Villa goalkeeper saved well as the visitors held on for the three points.

The full-time whistle eventually went after more than five minutes of stoppage time. An end to a historic football match but not the end of the progression on and off the pitch for Watford LFC.