Golden Girls manager full of praise for ‘resilient’ side

John Salomon was full of praise for young goalkeeper Deger Zekai. Picture (c) AW Images (AWimages.co.uk)
John Salomon was full of praise for young goalkeeper Deger Zekai. Picture (c) AW Images (AWimages.co.uk)

It was always likely to be a difficult test against Reading FC Women in the Continental Tyres Cup, however the Watford Ladies matched their opponents for most of the match despite going down 3-1.

“It was a really good performance after about 15 minutes, once we got ourselves going and into the game,” said Lady Hornets manager John Salomon. “Unfortunately we gave them a head start during that period.

“Reading are a good side and they move the ball about well.

“They created some opportunities in the first half but for large periods, particularly the second half and in the latter stages of the first, we felt we were the more likely to go and score.

“You can see from the performances how much stronger we are now and how much more resilient this team is than 5-8 weeks ago.

“It’s encouraging and certainly the signs are there for us to go and pick up points during the league run-in to make sure we lift ourselves off the bottom of the table.”

In the last three games against WSL2 opposition, Watford Ladies have managed to find the back of the net five times.

“We’ve worked on our play going forward,” explains Salomon.

“There was a big focus on defending for a number of weeks because of rotations to the team through injuries/absences and due to the fact we had tough games.

“Recently we’ve tried to focus more on the attacking aspect, saying ‘you know what, let’s just have a go at teams’ because maybe attack is the best form of defence and we should just try and get forward a little bit more, be a bit more creative and inventive in our play.

“The players have enjoyed that part of it, we created more chances today than we have done previously.

“We’re building on that week-by-week and that’s only going to make us stronger going into that last run of games.”

One player to stand out on Sunday was Deger Zekai. The goalkeeper was making only her second start for the club but yet again put in a display that belied her age and experience.

“She made some good saves again and made good decisions,” Salomon added. “Ben [Dowsett] our goalkeeping coach has worked with her now for two years and I know he’s really proud of how she’s stepped up.

“She’s come into two really tough games. A bottom of the table clash against Oxford, which was a six pointer and she wasn’t protected in that one. She didn’t put a foot wrong then and didn’t put a foot wrong again today.

“I know Shayla Burgess is getting closer to full fitness and Trippoli Witney will be available again next week, so there’s difficult decisions to be made!

“All over the pitch, there’s a lot of players now that are competing for places. It gives me a headache on a Saturday night but it’s a good position for us to be in.