Watford beaten by Crawley Wasps thanks to inch-perfect free-kick

Naomi Cole’s inch-perfect free-kick gave Crawley Wasps a superb victory over Watford, ending the visitors’ 100 per cent start to the season.

Monday, 12th October 2020, 7:17 am
Updated Monday, 12th October 2020, 7:22 am
Wasps players celebrate Naomi Cole’s match-winner (Picture: Ben Davidson Photography – www.bendavidsonphotography.com)

After a tight 70 minutes between last season’s two title rivals in the FA Women’s National League South, Cole broke the deadlock with an accurately placed set-piece into the bottom corner.

To that point, Watford had enjoyed long periods of possession but found Wasps’ well-drilled defence a tough nut to crack – and after the goal, Wasps could have put the game beyond doubt.

Manager Dave Cole gave a debut to former London Bees striker Nikita Whinnett, and she put in a tireless shift up front in front of 198 fans at Horley Town’s New Defence ground.

Nikita Whinnett put in a tireless shift on her Crawley Wasps debut (Picture: Ben Davidson Photography – www.bendavidsonphotography.com)

In fact, all of her new team-mates worked incredibly hard to cut off passing lanes for Watford, who came into this game having won four out of four.

It meant the first half was largely devoid of chances as both teams cancelled each other out. Kate McIntyre shot straight at Watford’s former Brighton keeper Sophie Harris, while Francesca Ali fired wide at the other end.

In the second half, Wasps keeper Megen Lynch gathered Ali’s header and some determined defending denied the visitors during a penalty area scramble.

That proved crucial as after Tash Stephens was fouled, Cole stepped up to fire in.

And Whinnett could have wrapped it up on her debut after robbing a defender and running in on goal, only for Harris to deny her.

The win boosts Wasps after two league defeats this season, and they sit three points behind Oxford and Watford in the third tier of women’s football.

Wasps return to action on Sunday when they begin their defence of the Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup at Worthing.

WASPS: Lynch; Nash, James, Russell, Palmer; McIntyre, Cole; Wignall (Plewa 66), Lancaster (Stow 81), Stephens; Whinnett. Sub not used: Talbut-Smith.

Amy Green’s penalty earned Crawley Wasps reserves a 2-2 draw at AFC Wimbledon reserves on Sunday.

Flo Jackson had given Wasps’ second string an early lead from Valeria Mareno’s cross, only for the Dons to turn the game on its head before the break.

But Green stepped up to the spot after a handball and slotted away her spot-kick.

Wasps’ Development Squad, the club’s third team, won 8-2 at Hassocks in the London & South East Division 1 South.

Lauren Callaghan hit a hat-trick, Amy Thomson scored twice and Rosanne Fine and Natalie Stephenson were also on target.

Sarah Whitehead scored twice and was named player of the match as the Under-14s won 5-1 at Heathfield & Horam. Molly Stevenson also grabbed a brace, and Issy Connor netted too.

Jasmine Smith scored both goals for the Under-13s in their 2-2 draw with Bognor.

League and FA rules prevent the publication of results below Under-12s, but Ruby Burton and Anya Roadnight were named player of the day in two separate games played by the Under-11s.

Wasps now have two teams at Under-10 level – Poppy Bell and Sofia Heaton won Wasps of the Day for the U10s Yellow, while Cleo Gould and Lacey Owens won the same for the U10s Black.

The nominations for the club’s youngest team, the Under-9s, went to Elodie Ahearn and Primrose Singleton.

Meanwhile, the Under-10s and Under-11s picked up their 2019-20 season awards at half-time during the first-team’s game against Watford.

Under-9s (last season) – players’ player: Khloe Williams; manager’s player: Teagan Morgan; parents’ player: Sofia Heaton; most improved: Teagan Richards.

Under-10s (last season) – players’ player: Tyra Atkins-Forlenza; manager’s player: Isabelle Weatherstone; coach’s player: Amelia Lowson; parents’ player: Chloe Randall; most improved: Ruby Burton.