WIFC completed their IFA League season with a 3-2 win at Dagenham & Redbridge last Saturday. Having started the campaign with a 3-0 win in the reverse fixture, WIFC recorded a second double against the relative IFA newcomers, but this was by far the closest game between the two so far, reflected in the final scoreline.
With the sticky Barking FC pitch playing it’s part passing football was difficult during the opening exchanges, but WIFC started to create chances, with Chris Dundon, Richard Wenham and debutant Ben Pegram all testing home keeper Steve Wilson. But it was the home side who took the lead just before the break, when Ben Jackson broke down the right and crossed for Pete Spicer, who tapped in from close range.
Behind at the break, WIFC visibly raised their game early in the second half and forced a succession of corners and good saves from Wilson. Despite this, it was Dagenham who doubled their lead when Jackson took advantage of some poor defending to set up Spicer, who scrambled home and leapfrogged the creator as the Daggers top scorer for the season.
WIFC were not to be denied, and it was one-way traffic from then on as Dagenham battled hard to cling on. Wilson again denied the visitors with some smart goalkeeping, but was helpless to stop Jeremy Hinds piledriver from just inside the box, following a neat pull-back from Pegram. Hinds could then have drawn the visitors level when his header from a Dan Butterick cross smashed against the bar from close range.
It didn’t take long for WIFC to grab the equalizer and it was Pegram to the fore once again, as another pull back was gratefully rifled home by Butterick for his first WIFC goal. Having come from two goals back to force penalties in their last outing at the London Cup final, WIFC went one better when Wenham curled home a late winner after another spell of pressure from the visitors.
WIFC joint managers Chris Davis and Dave Messenger were pleased with the win, WIFC’s 4th in their last 5 league matches of a topsy-turvy season. “It’s always nice to finish a season well, and we’ve done that in good style today. Dagenham get better every time we meet and to come from behind to win was very pleasing.” said Messenger.
All eyes are now on Worldnet, which takes place in Leeds every July. The weekend long tournament is the IFA’s blue riband event, and hopes are high that WIFC can emulate last season’s run to the quarter-finals in both the main draw and the Veterans tournament, which run simultaneously.
“We’ve finished well and came so close to silverware in the London Cup, so hopes for Worldnet are high” added Messenger. “We’re taking strong squads for both competitions and while the emphasis is always on an enjoyable weekend away, we’ll be using the friendlies we’re planning between now and July to prepare for the football side of things”
Those friendlies start this Tuesday, as two teams of WIFC players meet at Vicarage Road in the ‘Play on the Pitch’ day organized by Rob Sterry. WIFC then take on Dulwich Hamlet next Saturday as preparations for Worldnet begin in earnest.
WIFC – Tom Beck; Ed Sterry, Paul Whittenbury, Martin Pollard, Phil McBride; Joel Moody, Ben Pegram, Chris Dundon, Andy Myall; Richard Wenham; Alex Prentice. Subs Matt Wells, Dan Butterick, Jeremy Hinds.