Watford Ladies were defeated 3-0 by Chelsea Ladies in the Continental Tyres Cup but came away from the game with plenty of credit.
The Golden Girls gave the WSL1 table toppers lots to worry about, particularly during the second half.
However, the Blues’ quality inevitably shone through in the end, with goals from Atlanta Primus, Jodie Brett and Millie Farrow securing the three points.
As was expected, both sides made some changes to their starting line-ups from their previous games; Tricia Gould and Josie Green were back in the team for Watford, in place of Kim Farrow and Poppy Jones.
The former was immediately showing her qualities on the ball in the opening stages, showing quick feet to get away from a couple of Chelsea defenders.
It was a quiet start to the half with the Lady Hornets giving away very little and making life difficult for their opponents.
Trippoli Witney in the Watford goal wasn’t seriously tested until the 24th minute, when she made a good save to deny Laura Coombs.
Eventually, just after the half hour mark, Chelsea made the breakthrough. The ball fell kindly to Primus in the box and she made no mistake, finishing past Witney from around 15 yards out to make it 1-0.
The lead was nearly doubled shortly after, as an entertaining goalmouth scramble broke out. Five players per side were competing for the ball at the near post, however a yellow shirt eventually managed to clear it.
Towards the end of the half, the visitors were starting to get on top. Witney had to be at her very best to stop Jenna Legg, producing a fantastic save.
There was little she could do, though, about the visitors going two up on the stroke of half-time. A free-kick routine was worked to Gemma Davison, her shot was going well wide before being diverted in the opposite direction by Brett into the bottom corner.
While it looked like it could have been an inspired idea from the training ground, the reaction suggests their might have been an element of fortune about it.
Watford started the second half with a real intensity, looking to find a way back into the game. Anneka Nuttall was the first to go close, heading wide from Stacie Donnelly’s corner, who herself tested Marie Hourihan in the Chelsea goal 60 seconds later.
Just before the hour mark, Nuttall had a glorious chance to pull one back. She was put through one-on-one against Hourihan, who made herself big and pulled out a fantastic stop with her feet.
Half-chances for both teams would follow, Nicole Pepper’s free-kick was held, while Primus’ powerful effort from distance was well held on to by Witney.
It took until the 80th minute for the game to be finally put away by the WSL1 side. Primus played in Farrow who slotted the ball into the bottom corner to put Chelsea three up.
Two of the hosts’ substitutes, Emily Heaslip and Megan Wynne, had impressed since coming on. The former was especially enjoying herself, with a crafty nutmeg against her opposite number.
The last chance of a fascinating match fell to Watford with a free-kick from 25 yards out. Ellie Mason made Hourihan work but it was well held, preventing the consolation goal.
Watford: Witney, Pepper, Robe, M Burgess, Gillard, Read, Green (Heaslip HT), Donnelly, Gould (Wynne 53), Fatuga-Dada, Nuttall (Mason 73).
Subs not used: Zekai, Farrow, Jones, Littleboy.