Five star Hornets too good for Cambridge

WATFORD IFC recorded a win to mark their first home fixture of the 2022/23 campaign; a comfortable 5-0 success over Abbey United on Parmiter’s School 4G surface.

Teenager Alfie Parkins scored his first two goals for the Hornets; the first less than 90 seconds after half-time to make it 3-0, and the second – pouncing on a rebound from Joe Withey’s shot which hit a post – only 12 minutes later.

It took some time during the first 45 for WIFC to take a grip on the game.  A resilient set of Cambridge United fans, playing the game in true IFA spirit throughout, provided doughty opposition and, combined with some lacklustre finishing, it took until 21 minutes into the contest for the deadlock to be broken; an own-goal with Parkins forcing the ball onto a covering defender and in from a low cross.

Cleveland Brandy scooted forward from right-back to drill home low into the far corner with eight minutes left before the interval, with time still for Joe Withey to plant an excellent headed chance just over the crossbar.

Parkins’ double then took the game away from the visitors whose threat to the Watford goal materialised mainly from dead-ball situations. Ben Kelly completed the Hornets’ scoring at the end of a flowing move to seal a 5-0 win on a warm morning for a game expertly refereed by WIFC manager Rich Walker.

It was great to have some support from Messrs Maloney (snr), Sperinck and Parkins (snr) but the last word goes to on-field Man of the Match Paul Withey, for keeping things simple throughout and getting through more minutes than planned because of an early injury suffered by David Sitkowski.

Hornets: Ben Bateman; Cleveland Brandy, Matt Ladell (c), John Sitkowski, David Sitkowski, Lamar St-Cyr, Alby Salvidge, Joe Withey; Paul Withey, Ben Kelly, Alfie Parkins. Subs used: Tyrone Brandy, Sam Elvery.

Goals: OG, Cleveland Brandy, Alfie Parkins x 2, Ben Kelly.

Celebratory season underway with defeat in Preston

WATFORD IFC were delighted to get their 25th anniversary 2022/23 campaign underway so early in the season; playing out a 4-1 defeat away to Preston North End Fans before taking in the main game at Deepdale soon after.

The Hornets sported two teenage debutants – Alfie Parkins and Joe Withey – as well as fellow 16-year-old Callum Maloney in midfield. At the other end of the age spectrum, 53-year-old debutant Simon Parkins – Alfie’s father – also lined up in the team alongside Dean Maloney and veteran player-manager Richard Walker.

And it was Withey who joined the ranks of WIFC’s 16-year-old goal-getters with a close-range finish after good work from Parkins junior, set away down the left by Walker. Essentially a consolation, the goal arrived 18 minutes from time after a typically strong PNE had fashioned a 4-0 interval lead with some neat interchange play down both flanks.

Being hurt by pace up front for the opposition, Walker switched Ben Kelly to a sweeper role and it served to stifle the host’s breakaway attempts. Paul Shelock’s experience was pushed into a holding midfield role, while Matt Ladell ably partnered Kelly with Stuart Sperinck filling in at full-back behind the determined Sam Elvery.

Nursing a sore ankle, Charlie Wood kept goal for the Hornets and had little chance with any of the Preston goals. 

So although Watford didn’t carve out many openings after the break, the 12-strong squad could be proud to have put a difficult first half behind then to effectively ‘win’ the second period and travel onwards to Deepdale with their heads held high.

Hornets: Charlie Wood; Simon Parkins, Matt Ladell (c), Paul Shelock, Dean Maloney; Sam Elvery, Joe Withey, Callum Maloney, Stuart Sperinck, Alfie Parkins; Ben Kelly. Sub used: Richard Walker.

2021/22

The overall record for 2021/22 is below..

WIFC 20/21PldWDLGSGAGD
League540131526
Friendlies0000000
Cup Games82151216-4
TOTAL13616432122
Goals Per Game3.311.62

Leading Scorer
Mark O’Connor 9
Leading Appearances
Alby Salvidge & Tyrone Brandy 8
Final League Position
21st
Final English League Position
8th
IFA Cup
First Round
Worldnet
Round of 16
Worldnet Vets
Round of 16

Results and scorers

Date CompOppositionScoreScorers
6-Nov-21LGE1LutonAW 12-0C Brandy 2,
Wood 6,
Gallichan,
Bateman,
O’Connor 2
27-Nov-21LGE2AFC WimbledonAW 7-1O’Connor 3,
St-Cyr,
T Brandy,
Wood,
Reading
22-Jan-22LGE3/IFAC1RochdaleAL 2-3O’Connor 2 (2 Pens)
12-Feb-22LGE4MK DonsHW 2-1T Labbett (Pen),
T Brandy
21-May-22LGE5LutonHW 8-0M Ladell,
C Maloney 3,
O’Connor 2,
OG,
C Brandy
9-Jul-22WorldNet AsPrestonNL 1-2Radley
9-Jul-22WorldNet AsFootball ManagerL 1-2Harper
9-Jul-22WorldNet AsBuryNW 3-1Kelly,
Gallichan,
Petagine
9-Jul-22WorldNet VetsIpswich VetsNL 1-2Soloway
9-Jul-22WorldNet VetsStockport VetsND 1-1Soloway
9-Jul-22WorldNet VetsEverton VetsNW 4-1Eustice,
W Rowson,
Soloway,
O’Dowd
10-Jul-22WorldNet Last 16Livingston GSNL 1-2
10-Jul-22WorldNet Vets Last 16Gillingham VetsNL 0-5

Appearances

Name21/22 Apps
Tyrone Brandy8
Alby Salvidge8
Richard Murphy7
Tom Anderson7
Adam Gallichan6
Matt Ladell6
Matt Ainsley6
Mark O’Connor5
Callum Maloney5
Tom Labbett5
Christian Frater5
Paul Labbett5
Paul Shelock5
Richard Walker5
Stuart Sperinck5
Dave Soloway4
Ben Kelly4
Jimmy Davis4
Lamar St Cyr4
Steve Eustice4
Connor O’Dowd4
Dan Harper4
Luke Radley4
Aldo Petagine4
Ally Shivas4
Dan Moss4
Dean Maloney4
Derek Payne4
Matt Wells4
Rob Sterry4
Courtney-Paige Blythe4
Sean Kidby4
Charlie Wood3
Cleveland Brandy3
Ben Bateman3
Will Rowson3
Mark Mahloney3
Connor Church3
Joel Moody3
Laurence Wells3
Stuart Nicholls3
Tom Reading1
Ally Hill1
David Sitkowski1
Frank Smith1
John Machin1
Martin Owen1
Mat Ball1
Mike Viney1
Nathan Glasscoe1
Nathan Standing1
Pete Fincham1
Rob Stone1

Goalscorers

Name21/22 Goals
Mark O’Connor9
Charlie Wood7
Callum Maloney3
Dave Soloway3
Cleveland Brandy3
Tyrone Brandy2
Adam Gallichan2
Matt Ladell1
Tom Labbett1
Ben Kelly1
Jimmy Davis1
Lamar St Cyr1
Steve Eustice1
Connor O’Dowd1
Dan Harper1
Luke Radley1
Aldo Petagine1
Ben Bateman1
Will Rowson1
Tom Reading1

Dozen Delight for the Internet ‘Orns

AN extraordinary morning in Bedfordshire saw Watford IFC rack up a remarkable 12-0 victory over local rivals Hatters Fans FC of Luton Town.

Charlie Wood hit six of the 12 goals scored in total, to become only the second player to achieve that feat for the club, as WIFC’s dozen came in two even half-dozen batches both before and after half-time.

Kicking up the Stockwood Park slope for the first 45, WIFC’s pass-and-move football from a 3-4-1-2 formation was too hot for their hosts to handle. With the mercurial talents of Mark O’Connor deployed in a free role behind the strikers, Watford created danger at will and were ahead inside the 10-minute mark.

The opening and closing goals of this one-sided contest were fortuitous – both far-post crosses from Cleveland Brandy that dropped into the far corner or the net – but there was nothing lucky about the other 10 in between.

Wood started his double hat-trick when he made it 2-0, cutting inside his man and firing low inside the near post. It was three when Wood fired home through a forest of legs after a corner had only been half-cleared.

Number four went in off Adam Gallichan’s shin-pad as he turned home a low cross from the right, before Wood brought up his first treble when breaking free and slotting past the helpless Hatters’ keeper.

Two centre-halves combined to send the Hornets into the break six up. Another corner wasn’t properly dealt with, leaving Frank Smith to turn the ball across the six-yard box for Ben Bateman to gratefully sweep home.

O’Connor kicked off the second-half goal spree, around the 50th minute. Set free down the left flank, he cut in and lifted the ball past the onrushing keeper. That was seven – and it was eight when Wood stroked home after good work down the left from Lamar St-Cyr.

Alby Salvidge thought he’d notched on an impressive debut, but he was ruled off-side from a long throw flicked on. No matter, it was soon 9-0 with Wood capitalising at the far post from an O’Connor cross-shot.

Rangy forward Wood completed his six-shooting display with a one-on-one finish, set up by Salvidge’s through-pass.

Before the second of the Brandy goals from crosses, O’Connor profited after Luton summed up their abject performance with a defensive mix-up which left Watford’s tormentor-in-chief time enough to roll the ball across the line with the sole of his foot, all alone in the Hatters’ goalmouth.

It was, simply put, one of those days where everything WIFC did went just about perfectly and their hosts obliged with a display to forget. 

A result that had stat-man Dave Messenger scrabbling around in the history books, it was one goal off matching WIFC’s biggest-ever scoreline of 15-2 and consequently the record 13-goal margin of victory.

It’s the first time the Hornets have hit double-figures on the road since a 10-1 win at Wycombe some eight years ago and the 13th time in total, while Wood’s goalscoring antics earned him the Man-of-the-Match award.

WIFC: Richard Walker, David Sitkowski, Frank Smith, Ben Bateman; Cleveland Brandy, Richard Murphy (c), Daniel Moss, Tyrone Brandy; Mark O’Connor; Charlie Wood, Adam Gallichan. Subs used: Lamar St-Cyr, Alby Salvidge, Stuart Sperinck.

19 year wait ends in style

WATFORD IFC ended a 19 year wait to achieve a second IFA British Cup Final berth in the club’s history, with a resounding 8-3 win over a gritty Queen’s Park at the neutral venue of Croston, near Preston, on a sweltering hot Saturday afternoon.

Four goals apiece from Man-of-the-Match Mark O’Connor and Adam Gallichan put the tie out of the reach of Queen’s, who had taken an early lead and then later reduced the Internet ‘Orns’ lead from 5-1 to 5-3 in a couple of second-half minutes.

O’Connor’s first three came in the form of a quick-fire first-half hat-trick. He equalised from the penalty spot on 17 minutes after Ben Kelly had been adjudged to have been fouled just inside the penalty area. 

Then a dribble and shot too hot to handle for the Queen’s stopper made it 2-1 before O’Connor himself was bundled over on 24 minutes before converting the spot-kick himself.

Always a threat on the break, the Scottish side threatened more than once during what remained before half-time, particularly from some devilish inswinging corner-kick deliveries.

But WIFC took a grip on a final place in the space of four minutes at the start of the second half. Charlie Wood’s shot after just 90 seconds rebounded out to Tom Labbett who unselfishly squared for sub Adam Gallichan to stroke home the first of his second-half four-goal salvo.

Three minutes later it was 5-1 when the striker chipped the goalkeeper with a first-time shot which grazed the inside of the post before nestling in the goal.

But Queen’s weren’t done and rallied with two goals of their own, capitalising on a period of lackadaisical play from those in yellow. The pair of strikes – one a neat turn and finish from close-range and the other a bundled effort after a defensive mix-up – gave new hope at 5-3, but a drinks break gave manager Richard Walker a chance to remind his Watford charges of the job in hand.

They responded well; but there was controversy attached to the Hornets’ sixth. The officials didn’t initially spot an injured Queen’s player some way from a Watford dead-ball and a quickly-taken free-kick saw Gallichan drive a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar from 20 yards.

Watford’s seventh – and Gallichan’s fourth – came when he pounced on a short backpass to round the keeper and feather a rolled finish in from virtually on the byeline.

O’Connor then matched his teammate’s total when he made most of good work by Tyrone Brandy to complete the 8-3 scoreline.

Both teams decamped to Croston Sports Club for post-match pints and a chat, as Watford thoughts now turn to just a second IFA British Cup Final appearance when they’ll be going for a first-ever win against St Johnstone in the traditional WorldNet Friday night slot.

Bateman; C Brandy, Viney, Moss, Church; Wood, J Sitkowski, Labbett; O’Connor, Hill, Kelly.

Subs used: T Brandy, St-Cyr, Ladell, Gallichan.
Subs not used: Walker.

Four-za Watford as Hatters brushed aside

WATFORD IFC made full use of a strong line-up to run out emphatic winners against their Luton Town counterparts; 4-1 the final score on the manicured surface of Watford FC’s academy training pitches.

Aside from an early spell of brief pressure, this was a game the Hornets were well in control of, using the full width of the pitch to create numerous promising situations.

Tom Labbett stroked the hosts ahead after 20 minutes, arriving late in the box to finish a low cross from Ben Kelly who had been found by Frank Smith – making a welcome return to the WIFC fold.

The single-goal interval lead was doubled not long into the second 45 when Kelly turned the ball home at the far post before displaying his trademark exuberant celebration.

Captain Ally Hill, who would later have a goal controversially ruled out amid confusion surrounding the goal netting, scored Watford’s third from close-range.

Charlie Wood danced round the keeper to round off a sweeping Hornets’ move for the fourth – but only after the Hatters had given themselves brief hope with a set-piece goal thanks to pretty much the only defensive lapse of the morning from Watford.

Manager Richard Walker returned to action in goal, but the outstanding performance from the back four ensured a largely untroubled 90 minutes as he begins to prepare his side for the IFA British Cup Final against Queen’s Park in Preston a fortnight hence.

Internet ‘Orns: Walker; Stone, D Sitkowski, Moss, Smith; Shelock, Anderson, Labbett; St-Cyr, Hill (c), Kelly.
Subs used: C Brandy, Viney, Wood, Church.
Sub not used: O’Connor.

Preston pick up the points at the Vic

THIS very special occasion proved a game of two halves in more than one way, with hosts Watford rallying after a slow start to go down 5-3 to their visitors from Preston North End, as the Vicarage Road stadium hosted it’s first ever IFA league fixture.

The travelling opposition were too hat to handle for WIFC’s starting line-up for much of the first 45 minutes, cruising into a 5-1 interval lead – abetted by some poor defensive decision-making – with only captain Stu Nicholls’ right-foot finish after good work from Mark O’Connor to show for their toil.

O’Connor was a constant threat down the wide expanses of The Vic’s generously-sized carpet of a playing surface, while elsewhere across the pitch the Internet ‘Orns struggled to cope with PNE’s movement and swift interchange play – this despite the best efforts of centre-halves Dan Moss and Mike Viney.

It was a different story after the break with the second-half team playing higher up the pitch and forcing North End into the kind of errors in possession that they hadn’t been under pressure often enough to make pre-interval.

Around five minutes into the second 45, WIFC’s hopes of an unlikely come-back were raised when Charlie Wood slotted home after the ball broke kindly to him from a spree of tough tackles between the sides.

And although the come-back didn’t materialise in full, the Hornets took advantage of their fresh legs to enjoy the better of territory although Preston’s swift passing always offered a threat on the counter. Player-manager Richard Walker was forced into several smart reaction saves to ensure the visitors didn’t add to their tally.

There was just time before the final whistle for the arrears to be reduced to two when Ally Hill crashed home a header from a corner.

Full-time was followed by beers & pizza for everyone in the Players’ Lounge after a very special opportunity to play on the award-winning hallowed turf of Vicarage Road.

First Half: Mesiano; Ainsley, Viney, Moss, P Labbett; Holdham, Sperinck, Anderson; O’Connor, Nicholls (c), Church.
Second Half: Walker, Maloney, Viney, Hill, Ladell, Shelock, Stone, Murphy; Elvery, Wood, T Labbett.
Subs used: Eustice, Wells.

All bets are off for Holdham

STU HOLDHAM’s losing wager with player-manager Richard Walker during Watford IFC’s 4-0 win against Hey Jude FC (Brentford) provided us all with a stark reminder of the anti-gambling slogan “when the fun stops, STOP”.

Two-nil up half-way through the second 45, the towering midfielder spied his boss readying for an outfield cameo – having played the first half-hour in goal. Holdham struck a bet in promising that he’d run round the pitch naked if Walker scored. Not three minutes after entering the field, the player-manager duly obliged with one of his chipped specials from just outside the box.

Mercifully, Holdham spared any in-game blushes but did keep his word when the full-time whistle blew. Video evidence is available but has been swiftly archived to spare the TV warm-up man his blushes.

A competitive HJFC used a combination of long kicks from the goalkeeper and a combative approach to recovering second balls to keep the Hornets hemmed in their own defensive third for much of the first-half, but a steely resistance led by centre-halves Dan Moss and Matt Ladell helped repelled the main Bees’ threats.

Seeing off that pressure proved key to Watford’s success since, once Charlie Wood swept home the loose change from a 42nd-minute corner, WIFC never looked back and took control of the second half at the Hounslow venue.

The game’s other notable feature was a goal apiece for dynamic Sitkowski duo ‘Gary & Phil’. John it was who notched first, bundling home from a corner just after the hour mark.

David then took centre-stage with a late piledriver from 25 yards, the goal of the game which completed the scoring for an excellent 4-0 victory.

And, just like the week before in the South-East Cup Final, youngster Tyrone Brandy was nominated as WIFC’s ‘Man of the Match’; the level of his performances increasing visibly week-on-week.

Internet ‘Orns: Walker; Maloney, Ladell, Moss, Ainsley; J Sitkowski, Holdham, Church; Murphy, Wood, T Labbett.Subs used: D Sitkowski, Maloney, Mesiano, P Labbett, T Brandy, Anderson.

Double delight for the Internet ‘Orns

WATFORD INTERNET FC won the South-East Cup for a second time, running out convincing 6-0 winners over long-time rivals and friends West Ham United IFC at Kings Langley’s Orbital Fasteners Stadium.

Kicking off what would prove to be a very special day in the history of both WIFC and the big club’s team, the Hornets found in the Hammers obdurate and durable opposition for all of the first 45 minutes.

Mark O’Connor’s fine low volley was the only goal of that opening half, and provided some sense of relief to the Hornets given their enjoyment of the lion’s share of territory and chances.

Yet, despite the comfortable final scoreline, it was with the usual West Ham dangers at large that the switching of Man-of-the-Match Cleveland Brandy from full-back to a central man-marking role proved crucial. He snuffed out the Irons’ key threat and allowed Watford to take an iron grip on possession and, ultimately, the silverware up for grabs.

Adam Gallichan swept home after Ben Kelly’s header from a cross was saved for Watford’s second, and then WIFC ran in four more as the second half wore on and West Ham tired in trying to cope with the Hornets’ movement.

Impressing at full-back, Tyrone Brandy then pushed forward to combine with Mark O’Connor to lay the third on a plate for Charlie Wood.

Kelly then notched one of his own after more good set-up play from O’Connor, with numbers five (Wood) and six (Gallichan) following towards the game’s conclusion to confirm Watford IFC’s superiority.

Internet ‘Orns: Hill; C Brandy, J Sitkowski, Moss, Church; Anderson, Stone, Labbett; O’Connor, Wood, Nicholls (c).
Subs used: D Sitkowski, T Brandy, Gallichan, Kelly, St-Cyr.
Subs not used: Mesiano (GK).
Man-of-the-Match: Cleveland Brandy
Officials: Chris Geelan, Yiannis Stavropoulus, Peter Fisher

Derby Day spoils for Hatters Fans

HATTERS FANS FC deservedly took the derby spoils after a somewhat attritional 2-1 victory over the Internet ‘Orns on a sunny morning in Stockwood Park, Luton.

Both the host’s goals came from set-pieces – one in each half and split by a Hornets’ penalty won and converted by striker Mark O’Connor.

Luton enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but both sides struggled to create too many clear-cut chances with the sloping and bobbly pitch not proving conducive to any attempts at good football.

Played in the good spirit that’s become the norm between these two local rivals, the Hatters took the lead on 25 minutes when an inswinging free-kick was guided home from eight yards by an unmarked attacker.

Watford were on level terms eight minutes before half-time when O’Connor was tripped near the byeline as he shaped to head towards goal. Atoning for his miss against the same opposition at the start of a Covid-abridged season, he went for power and drilled the spot-kick home low with the Hatters’ keeping guessing to dive in the other direction.

WIFC had been particularly competitive during the game’s first 30 minutes but were unable to sustain their momentum and Town gradually took a grip on territorial advantage before a corner was converted by a near-post flick – possibly lastly off a Watford head – with around 30 minutes left for play.

O’ Connor spurned a glorious chance to equalise for a second time when, having pounced on a short back-pass, he struck a post before awkwardly volleying the rebound over the bar.

Having carved out another chance, well saved, soon after through individual skill, O’Connor’s was the last real sight of the Hatters’ goal as Watford’s efforts petered out towards full-time.

Hornets: Mesiano; Ladell, Anderson, Moss, T Brandy; Sperinck, Murphy, St-Cyr, Nicholls (c), Soloway, C Bateman.Subs used: D Sitkowski, Wood, O’Connor, C Brandy, Stone.

The teams line up before kick-off