Ladies First Team vs. Watford (5 : 0)

Wednesday, 16 May, 2018 - 19:30

Club returned from the Hornets with maximum points after a second half romp at King's Langley to strengthen their fifth place league position with one match of the season remaining.

After a goalless first half, Sheffield ran away with things in the second, Hannah Cain opening the scoring shortly after the break before Melissa Johnson doubled the lead midway through the half. With the points looking likely to go to Sheffield, the visitors made sure of the result in the final ten minutes thanks to an Ellie Gilliatt hat-trick, which sealed a convincing win.

Sheffield controlled proceedings throughout and did well in the first half to suppress a buoyant Watford side who came into the match on the back of their first match of the campaign against Oxford United.

Watford played with confidence in the opening spells but failed to really test their opponents as the final ball too often went astray. Captain Anneka Nuttall’s free-kick from wide left was directed straight at Danielle Gibbons on ten minutes in what proved to be Watford's only direct shot in the first period.

The hosts had keeper Fran Kitching to thank for going into the break on equal terms as she made crucial saves from Jenna Dear, Melissa Johnson and Hannah Cain as Sheffield built momentum before half-time. And she might have had more to do had Sheffield not missed the target with numerous first half efforts - Cain, Chloe Dixon and Niamh Cashin all going close.

Sheffield started the second half where they had left off, with a great chance to open the score falling to Emma Johnson who blazed over the bar from 12 yards out after great build up play from Sarah Jackson and M Johnson.

But the visitors broke the deadlock just two minutes later, when Cain was set up by E Johnson in space to the left of the goal, and she drove the ball through the keeper's legs for 1-0. 

M Johnson doubled Sheffield's tally midway through the half following a defensive mix-up, allowing the striker to power forward and place a measured shot across the keeper and into the bottom corner.

The game became very open with Sheffield creating scoring opportunities with almost every attack they put together, but Watford rallied and almost got through as Fatuga-Dada was put through in the penalty area only for the offside flag to be raised - Gibbons making the save anyway from six yards out. 

There game was put beyond all doubt in the final ten minutes, with left-back Ellie Gilliatt taking centre stage. The introduction of Holly Housley at left-back allowed Gilliatt to move further forward and the impact was immediate, allowing the ball to run across her body before unleashing a fierce effort which Kitching had no chance of stopping. 

Substitute Rhema Lord-Mears set up the fourth with a sumptuous switch in play which allowed Gillatt to drive into the box and smash the ball in off the far post, and the hat-trick was completed in stoppage time with M Johnson squaring the perfect ball across the six yard box for Gilliatt to force home between two defenders. 

The result keeps Sheffield in fifth place but moves them three points clear of London Bees and with a significantly better goal difference going into the final round of league matches this coming Sunday.