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We talk to...Helen Ward (Watford)
 Women's Football WNL South News - 11 Jan 2020
 
WNL South News - We talk to...Helen Ward (Watford) - 11 Jan 2020 - Women's Football NewsWatford made an impressive move into the Fourth Round of the Women's FA Cup on Sunday with a 5-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle, who are one of their rivals in the Southern Premier Division title race.
 
We talked to Watford striker Helen Ward, who was full of praise for the whole team for their performance against Plymouth and is looking forward to the trip to either Fylde or Sunderland in the next round, as well as what she feels will stay a close title race for the remainder of the season:
 
WSS: That was a fantastic result for you on Sunday against one of your rivals near the top of the league, was that as well as the team has played this season?
HW: It was obviously a very pleasing result last weekend, keeping a clean sheet is especially important as we know how well Plymouth have done in front of goal this season so to keep them out was testament not only to the way we played and defended, but also to our coaches and manager who set us up in a way that would help us and dominate both in and out of possession. I don't know if it is the best we have played, but it's certainly up there.
 
WSS: After getting two goals ahead at half time, how important was Katie O'Leary's hat-trick goal, early in the second half?
HW: Yeah, I think 2-0 is always a nice score but the other team know that one goal can swing momentum and change the game in their favour. A team who have been disappointing in the first half will often come out fighting in the second so for Leggy to score so early was great for us and almost put the result beyond doubt.
 
WSS: You won 5-4 against Plymouth when you met them a month ago, did that result or the game have any bearing on the way the team played on Sunday?
HW: I think when you play teams relatively close together, the way they play is always a bit fresher in your mind. We were aware of their danger areas and we analysed the footage as a group to pinpoint what we needed to do this time around to perhaps limit their efforts on goal. At the same time, we also made sure we looked at what worked for us and how to maximise the players and the style we have to ensure we caused problems for them.
 
WSS: The Fourth Round draw has handed you a long trip to north to either Fylde or Sunderland, which will be one of two ties guaranteeing a FAWNL team in the last sixteen. What are your thoughts on that draw?
HW: Obviously, in terms of logistics, a Northern team is often a bit trickier to negotiate but in terms of the possible teams we could face, it is great for the FAWNL to know they will have a representative in the next round. It is also good to pitch ourselves against a side who are at the same tier as us, but who we don't often get the opportunities to play. We went up to Middlesbrough last season and did well there so let's hope we can do similar this time around.
 
WSS: In the meantime it is back to the league this week and a home match against Portsmouth, what kind of match are you expecting against them?
HW: Portsmouth are a good side with good players, we know that. We faced them in the league on the opening day of the season and we performed okay. I feel we have developed a lot as a team and a squad since then and I've no doubt they feel the same. We are on a good run at the moment and feeling confident but we know we are up there to be shot at so we don't take any game lightly.
 
WSS: The Plymouth win has stretched your unbeaten run in all competitions to 13 games, only one of which was a draw. presumably confidence is sky high amongst the team right now?
HW: Yeah, as I said in the last question, we are really happy with where we are at the minute and I genuinely believe we haven't hit the peak of our performances yet. We have a couple of players who are coming back from injury, too, which will strengthen us further and hopefully see us continue on this run for as long as possible.
 
WSS: The leadership has changed hands between yourselves and Crawley Wasps on a number of occasions over the last couple of months, do you see them as your main rivals and can you see anyone else coming through to challenge?
HW: I think there are a few sides who will still fancy their chances of winning the title this season. There's not much between us all at the moment so we know how important every game is. Crawley are the closest at the moment and have some excellent players but you can't rule out the likes of Plymouth, Cardiff and Oxford. I think everyone still has to play each other again at least once so anything can happen.
 
WSS: The club took a brave step in returning to the FAWNL two years ago but do you now feel ready to reclaim your status in the second tier, if you can win the league?
HW: I think that, although it was disappointing at the time, the decision to take a step back from the WSL/Championship was the right one. We, as a club, were not in the right position to move forward and compete at that level on or off the pitch. What the club have done since then has been excellent and we feel like we have built ourselves up in the right way to, hopefully, re-establish ourselves in the top two divisions. If we as players can do the job on the pitch, then I've absolutely no doubt in my mind that the club will support us and help us grow as a club.
 
Our thanks to Helen!
 

 
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