WIFC, resplendent in the current all blue away kit, erased the memories of last year’s painful penalty defeat to West Ham by winning the IFA London Cup against Stevenage on Saturday. It was the second piece of silverware in consecutive weeks for the Internet ‘Orns following the Amsterdam veterans tournament win last weekend.
Keen to ensure a fast start, WIFC flew out of the traps and dominated the early proceedings. Rob Sterry and Leigh Harrington both had great chances before Sterry coolly lobbed the Stevenage keeper to open the scoring with his 19th goal of the campaign. The lead was doubled as the Internet ‘Orns swarmed forward and Stuart Nicholls slotted home after a superb run and cross from full-back Brad Simmons.
With WIFC firmly in the ascendancy, thoughts started to turn to how many WIFC might score but Stevenage, who had defeated holders West Ham in the group stages, were having none of that and battled hard to stay in the game. They were rewarded, somewhat fortuitously, when a rare error from Richard Walker was punished by Callum McKechnie to reduce the arrers before the break.
The second half started in similar vein to the first, as WIFC again dominated the chances. Sterry will feel he should have put the match beyond all reasonable doubt as two great chances hit the woodwork, while Ben Pegram and Harrington also tested the keeper.
With chances missed at one end, Stevenage started to throw caution to the wind as the half wore on. With memories of WIFC’s own sterling comeback in last year’s final fresh, WIFC’s defence stood firm under the pressure and repelled the waves of Stevenage attacks. When they were breached, Walker atoned for his first half error with a stunning finger tip save under the crossbar, and a fine run from his line to smother a shooting chance in the last minute.
At the final whistle, there was delight all round as WIFC celebrated the moment. Captain Moz Clarke was named man of the match and lifted the cup, leaving WIFC to dream of a third Watford win at Wembley this coming Monday.
Richard Walker; Richard Wenham, Moz Clarke, Mickey Eales, Brad Simmons; Ben Pegram, Leigh Harrington, Rob Stone, Joel Moody; Stuart Nicholls, Rob Sterry. Subs Dave Soloway, Andy Lewers, Richard Muprhy. Not Used Jamie Parkins, Phil McBride, Tom Beck.