Forest Ready For Watford Final

Sunday afternoon, at the Pirelli Stadium, home of Burton Albion, sees the final of the 2022-23 FA Women’s National League, League Cup, as Andy Cook’s Nottingham Forest (Northern Premier Division) take on Damon Lathorpe’s Watford (Southern Premier).

The two sides could also meet in the promotion play-off, Forest currently leading the North, whilst Watford are just a point behind the leaders (Oxford United) in the South, with a couple of games remaining.

Both clubs are also rather prolific in front of goal, with near 140 scored between them in the league alone, Forest have bagged 78 thus far, with one game left to play – all eyes though, at the Halbrooke Stadium, are on this prize, their appearance since losing to Barnet, on penalties, back in 2011.

Last season, Forest won the League Plate, 2-1 against AFC Wimbledon, at the Armco Arena, Solihull, goals coming from Rachel Brown and Rebecca Anderson; of the starting eleven for Forest that day, only Brown has left the club, she having moved to Barclays Women’s Championship side, Sheffield United (along with substitute Grace Walters, and Rebecca Rayner).

Ahead of the final, Forest boss, Andy Cook, said: “Watford are a really good side.

“They move the ball very well; they’ve got some good individual players.

“Watford are one of the best teams in the South, as we are one of the best in North so it should be an entertaining game for everyone watching.

“We know it’s going to be a test and a battle. These are the reasons why we play football; we want to get into finals to have to opportunity to win some silverware.”

Meanwhile, defender Olivia Cook added: “We are expecting a structured, well-drilled Watford team on Sunday.

“It will be a tough battle from minute one; it will be a difficult game for us.”

To reach this season’s final the Reds have seen off Leek Town (a, won 5-0, Rebecca Anderson, Iris Achterhof, Charlotte Greengrass, Gianna Mitchell, and Mai Moncaster), Norton & Stockton Ancients (a, won 3-1, Mai Moncaster, Charlotte Greengrass, Arryana Daniels), Stoke City (a, won 4-2 AET, Charlotte Greengrass, Yasmin Mosby, Rosetta Taylor, Niamh Reynolds), Burnley (h, won 2-1, Charlotte Steggles, Gianna Mitchell), and in the semi-final, Portsmouth (h, won 5-0, Rebecca Anderson 2, Lyndsey Harkin, Charlotte Greengrass, Mai Moncaster).

Full Forest Preview here

Watford meanwhile, nicknamed ‘The Golden Girls,’ are heading into what is the biggest game in their history, having only been formed less than ten years ago; success against Forest, whilst also gunning for promotion, will mark their biggest day.

Former Assistant-turned-Head Coach, Damon Lathorpe, said of his side reaching the final that: “Cup finals are always a great occasion for everyone.

“As a kid growing up, they’re the days that you remember and they’re the days you play football for.

“We’ll prepare as normal and we’ll do our work. It’s something a bit different because Forest, being in the northern side of league, we don’t know too much about them, but we’ll do enough work and make sure we’re prepared and see if we can carry the momentum we’ve built in the last couple of months into that game and bring the cup home with us.”

Like Forest, Watford go into the final with some momentum behind them as well, victory over London Bees last time out being their seventh in all competitions (they’ve scored five or more in four of those).

In reaching the final, the Golden Girls have beaten Norwich City (h, won 6-0, Helen Ward 3, Ellie Head, Florence Fyfe, Nicola Gibson), AFC Wimbledon (a, won 1-0 AET, Grace Garrad), Hashtag United (h, 5-3 AET, Poppy Wilson, Ellie Head, Andria Georgiou, Fran Ali, Grace Garrad), MK Dons (h, won 5-1, Helen Ward 2, Bianca Baptiste, Ellie Head, Annie-Lee Rossiter), before a tough, semi-final win, over Wolverhampton Wanderers (h, won 2-0, Andria Georgiou, Faye Brough).

Statistically therefore, in the League Cup alone this season, it’s hard to split the two sides, both defensively, and attacking-wise; both sides have scored nineteen apiece, and from eleven different scorers, Charlotte Greengrass with four for Forest, and Helen Ward five for Watford, whilst defensively, they’ve both only conceded four times, in just five games.

Separate the two sides if you dare, we could be in for going the distance in this one….

With the final set to be played out on BBC Nottingham Sport (updates here), commentary coming from Chris Gadsby and former Reds defender, Kelly Kennaugh.

Keep up-to-date with the action as it happens via the two sides’ respective Twitter feeds at Nottingham Forest here and Watford here.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @NFFCWomen Mai Moncaster has been brilliant for Forest this season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *