WIFC recorded a double header double this Saturday morning, with wins against AFC Wimbledon in the London Cup Semi-Final and Punch Drunk FC, the Ipswich Town supporters team, in the IFA league. Having won their London Cup group comfortably, WIFC continued their good cup form in the bright Bushey sunshine. After a cagey opening, Joel Moody set the home side on their way with a low finish from the edge of the area for his 9th goal of the season. WIFC doubled their lead when industrious midfielder Stuart Holdham thumped home a header from a Rob Sterry corner. Further chances came and went, before Richard Walker pulled off a fine save from a one-on-one to preserve the two goal lead just before the break.
In the second half, WIFC looked to put the game out of the hard-working visitors reach, and were able to do so. A Rob Sterry lob made it three after good work from winger Andy Lewers, and Sterry completed a brace after more unselfish centre forward play by Chris Dew. With Walker injured, Daz Sear was called into action from the bench, and his one-handed stop kept the score at 4-0. However, Sear could do nothing with ten minutes to play as AFC Wimbledon got a first consolation. Frank Smith then restored the four goal cushion with his first goal for the club, but a further consolation completed the scoring and a cup final berth for the home side.
Meanwhile, the second game saw a goalless first half, during which WIFC created the greater number of chances and with some better composure in front of goal could have gone in at half time in control of the game. Alex Prentice, Tim Down, and Andy Myall all spurned good chances, and at the other end it took a great save from Tom Beck to insure the home side went in level at the half way point.
Looking to press their defence a little more in the second half, manager for the day Martin Pollard tinkered with his formation and it soon paid dividends when Andy Myall did well to get control of the ball with a challenge to go past the keeper and finish into an empty net for his 3rd goal in 2 games against Punch Drunk this season. Shortly afterwards James Collins topped off his man of the match performance by battling through a couple of challenges to poke the ball inside the near post to double the lead.
As the end of the match grew nearer, Punch Drunk threw caution to the wind and with injuries beginning to affect the WIFC squad, the visitors began to apply a lot of pressure and grabbed a goal back through Jarrod Ellis. With backs very much to the wall, WIFC held out for the win, but not without a penalty scare right at the end, but with so many bodies in the way of the refs vision he couldn’t give Ipswich the decision.
Guest manager Pollard saluted the effort from his charges. “I was really pleased with the work rate from the team, especially towards the end of the game when Punch Drunk were beginning to give us some real problems” said Pollard, a veteran of over 100 WIFC appearances himself. “We had a lot of tired legs out there but everyone battled on and made sure of the result”. Joint manager Dave Messenger echoed Pollard’s words, and added praise for both sets of WIFC players. “We’re delighted, to get a Cup Final berth and win the league match was a great effort and wouldn’t have been possible without every single player. We gave 33 players a game, they all played a part in a great day. We couldn’t ask for more”
v AFC Wimbledon
Richard Walker; Dan Willis, Aidy Spender, Stuart Nicholls, Paul Whittenbury; Stuart Holdham, Frank Smith; Joel Mooody, Dave Soloway, Rob Sterry; Chris Dew. Subs Andy Lewers, Jamie Parkins, Maurice Clarke, Daz Sear.
v Punch Drunk
Tom beck; Ed Sterry, Martin Pollard, Richard Wenham, Matt Ainsley; James Collins, Dave Morren; Andy Myall, Warren Flanagan, Tim Down; Alex Prentice. Subs Richard Betts, Marc Duffy, Simon Jones, Matt Wells, Daz Sear.