Watford seal instant Championship return over hard-working Forest

Nottingham Forest 0-1 Watford

by Freya Ward at Stadium: MK for Impetus (20/5/23).

Above: Poppy Wilson heads home Watford’s winning goal. Photo: Watford FC Women.

Watford have been promoted back to the Barclays Women’s Championship after a year in the FAWNL Southern Premier division thanks to Poppy Wilson’s goal early into the first half, which sealed their 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest earlier today.

Unfortunately, this meant that the afternoon ended in heartbreak for Nottingham Forest. After putting in blood, sweat, and tears, and an astonishing second-half performance to try and secure their spot for a season full of new challenges, they couldn’t quite get an equaliser.

So for the East Midlands side, dreams of playing the likes of Birmingham City (a team that won the Women’s FA Cup in the 2011/12 season) are over. This loss was made worse by the newly introduced rules by the FA meaning that next season both, winners of the Northern Premier and Southern Premier divisions would both be promoted straight up to the penultimate league in English domestic women’s football. If we had been a season ahead, Forest would automatically be heading into an action-packed season in the Championship.

Watford came out of the blocks strongest with a third-minute cross into the box from Baptiste this was quickly defended by Forest’s tuned-in defence. Shortly afterwards, the East Midlands side showed their hand for the first time when passing around inside the box ended with a corner that fell safely into the hands of Goldsmid.

Above: Watford goalscorer Poppy Wilson is held aloft by delighted team mates. Photo: FA.

However, with 17 minutes on the clock, Watford managed to score from open play courtesy of a header from Poppy Wilson, only slightly missing the hand of Emily Batty. Yet back came Forest with an amazing turn of play which ended in a shot that Goldsmid had to get her hands on at the cost of a corner.

The remainder of the half was relatively quiet with some excitement coming for Watford fans after a long-range shot was nearly converted, but it remained 1-0 at the break.

Forest started the second half with fire inside of them, just three minutes in forcing a save from Goldsmid, soon after they had another promising pass of play, shooting and missing the goal by millimetres. On the other side of the pitch, Emily Batty was working hard, staying tuned in, and saving a ball that came in from Head.

Above: Nottingham Forest looking to attack in the second half. Photo: NFFC Women.

With 62 minutes played, Watford’s Gemma Davidson looked initially to have doubled the Hornets’ lead before it was quickly ruled offside. Nottingham Forest got extremely close once more when Amy West’s powerful shot missed the goal by the skin of her teeth, adding to her side’s tally of extremely close goalscoring opportunities.

A double substitution for Forest gave them a second wind, before a head injury to Forest’s Olivia Cook resulted in a yellow card for Watford’s Annie Rossiter. The East Midland side continued to dominate the second half, being awarded many free kicks around the box.

Four minutes into added time at the end, Watford’s keeper ran straight into an opponent, receiving a yellow card. The resulting free kick was directly in front of goal, but failed to hit the target. This, unfortunately for Forest was their last chance to change their fate.

This is Freya Ward‘s debut article for Impetus to see her writer’s biography and those for all of our team of contributors, click on this link: https://impetusfootball.org/about-our-contributors/

Teams: NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Batty, Harkin, Cook, Steggles, Domingo, Mosby, West, Daniels, Anderson, James, Greengrass. Substitutes used: Mitchell (for Domingo 76′), Reynolds (for Mosby 76′), Powell (for Cook 88′).

WATFORD: Goldsmid, Meiwald, Rossiter, Baptiste, Davidson, Head, Georgiou, Chandler, Wilson, Pausch, McLean. Substitutes used: Fyfe (for Baptiste 63′), Wallace (for Rossiter 90+1′).

Scorer: Wilson 17’.

Referee: Louise Sanders.

Attendance: 3,007.

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