Thunderbolt from Gaylor
Watford looked to set the tempo early, pushing against the backline from the outset, Charlotte Kerr gliding around defenders with ease, getting two teasing crosses to flash across goal in quick succession. The hosts eased into the game opting to go long and hopeful rather than trying to weave the ball through.
Back and forth from one half of midfield to the other as both teams tried to build and grow, the hosts were inches away from taking the lead just before the quarter hour mark, as Rinsola Babajide’s volley smashed against Lucy Gillett’s crossbar. The 'keeper gratefully grabbed Bonnie Horwood’s follow up header. Again balls were launched long and hopeful, the hosts keen to use the full width of the pitch but still reticent in stringing a passing move together.
The Lionesses began to look more and more dangerous with each passing minute, the Golden Girls were unable to ease the pressure as one corner was followed by another.
Georgie Giddings’ volley glanced wide before Amber Gaylor converted the next, the ball cleared out to her just outside of the box before the attacker let fly a peach of a goal. On top and enjoying most of the possession, Millwall found a quick second after Gillett spilled the ball at a free kick, Giddings first to it to emphatically fire the ball past the keeper from a yard out.
Involved in everything positive Watford were doing, Kerr was on the charge once more, carrying the ball down the left before letting a curler fly from outside the area. An uncertain Sarah Quantrill dived over her near post to cover but was happy to see the ball fly over the upright. Switching flanks with Stacey Donnelly, Kerr had an immediate impact on the right, linking with Adekite Fatuga-Dada and leaving the defence in knots; Leighanne Robe nervously back-heading the ball to Quantrill’s direction.
Both teams were still full of attacking intent, the Golden Girls’ deep free-kick richochetted between two defenders before Megan Wynne cleared the ball out of feet to Ashlee Hincks. Against Kerr every inch of the way, the captain fed the ball to Babajide before ending up on the turf; the England U19 rolled her defender before advancing into the box.
With a hand on her back and a handful of her shirt clutched, Babajide did well to pull away from her marker, weaving between defenders before threading her shot goalwards, with Gillett happy to claim. The 'keeper far less assured when Hincks’s chipped ball rounded just over her crossbar.
Watford hit back
Just as they had in the first, Watford instantly took the reins for the second-half, Gaylor’s clearance shot straight up into the sky, coming in for a landing right in front of Ellie Mason. Not waiting for it to drop, the number nine pulled her foot back to outrageously volley past Quantrill, a sublime goal to slash the deficit in half.
Keen to reopen a tw- goal gap Millwall were back on the offensive, the ball worked to the by-line, Babajide’s cross perfectly connected with by Horwood who could only fire directly at a well-placed Gillett. At the other end Watford were doing their best to find parity and were left incensed when half-time substitute Otesha Charles was brought down in the box by Quantril, the challenge looked a certain penalty. The hosts countered and Hincks was left punching the turf when her scuffed shot rolled into Gillett’s arms, the attacker always stretching for the ball. The game wide open and increasingly stretched.
A nod to the nature of the game as Babajide chanced her arm from 30 yards, her angled lob catching the post before Gillett claimed. At the other end, Watford had worked the space well and with numbers in the box Charles missed her kick gifting Millwall a chance to bring the ball clear.
In it until the whistle
Both teams were full-bloodied across the pitch, bodies flying as the tackles went in heavier and heavier both team more than happy to add extra spice to the pseudo-London derby.
Both home and away continued to create chances and half chances as the game wore on, but with the ball consistently squirming no player could get a clean contact to trouble their opposing keeper and despite plenty of action neither could find another goal.