The poster for this match featured Elton John’s Captain Fantastic. By the end of it, Lewes fans were turning to one another and muttering the name of another track on the album: Tell Me When The Whistle Blows.
This, it has to be said, was a long way from a chart-topping performance by the Rooks, against a team who had yet to muster a single win in the league.
On the evidence of the opening minutes, it looked like it might be a comfortable afternoon for the Rooks. It took only three minutes for Lewes to nudge ahead. Rebecca McKenna’s throw was neatly knocked into Freda Ayisi’s path by Ini Umotong and Freda’s low shot crept into the net.
The lead lasted about as long as one of Elton’s ballads, however. Sophie O’Rourke made a rash challenge on the darting – and seemingly offside – Adekite Fatuga-Dada and the referee pointed to the spot. Emma Beckett’s penalty was struck firmly to Saunders’ right, and although the Lewes keeper got a strong hand on the shot, she couldn’t keep it out.
The goal discombobulated Lewes. The early fluency of their attacks was replaced with sloppy passing and a vain struggle to get a grip on the game. The closest Lewes came to regaining their lead in the first-half was Izzy Dalton’s fierce strike from the edge of the box, but it smacked the crossbar.
Half-time arrived and no fewer than six of the new backroom staff formed in a gaggle by the dugouts, trying to work out how to get back into it. Too many cooks? Perhaps, because what was served up for the second half was no more appetising than the first.
McKenna and O’Rourke switched sides at half-time, but neither of them looked comfortable in their new digs. Indeed, it was Watford who were beginning to make themselves at home, sitting back and waiting for the Lewes attacks to peter out or for cross-field passes to waft harmlessly out of play.
Paula Howells – with her Gary Lineker tribute wrist-strapping – was the Rook who looked most likely to make something happen, but she was hooked midway through the half. When Freda Ayisi succumbed to injury moments later, what little attacking intent Lewes had shown fizzled out like a water-damaged sparkler.
The only shot the Rooks got on target in the second half was the one aimed at their own foot for Watford’s second goal. Saunders played a tame goal-kick just yards outside of her area, which was snaffled by a switched-on Hornets midfielder and passed to substitute Leanne Bell, who slotted calmly past Saunders.
Lewes threw on forwards to try and rescue a point, but the damage was done. Now bottom-placed Coventry arrive next week – let’s hope for a better performance, or you won’t have to guess why they call it the blues.
Lewes: Saunders, McKenna, O’Rourke, Timms, Hazard, Cleverly, Logan, Hack, Dalton, Howells, Umotong, Ayisi
Subs: Cousins, Ashworth-Clifford, Noble, Timms, Boswell, Cross, Hartley, Salgado, Miller
Boyesy’s Brilliant Photos: