WIFC had a tough day at the office last Sunday as preparations for the annual Worldnet tournament in Leeds began in earnest at the Supporters Direct tournament in Enfield. WIFC didn’t really get going during the first two games, and by the time the team finally got a win under their belts in the final game, their fate had already been decided.
The draw was always tough and pitted WIFC against London Cup winners West Ham in the opener. In a tight game chances were few and far between, with Dave Soloway spurning a great chance to get the tournament off to a flier. Having matched the Irons well, WIFC conceded a disappointing goal to a set piece in the last few minutes and went down 1-0.
After a two game break it was time to face Barnet, who had beaten Carlisle 4-0 in their opener. Having seen West Ham surprisingly lose 2-4 to Carlisle after a red card reduced the Irons to ten men, the group was wide open. Sadly, WIFC couldn’t take advantage and struggled to get a grip on the game. The Internet ‘Orns never really threatened going forward until two goals down, when Soloway showed better finishing to take advantage of some indecisive defending on Barnet’s part. WIFC threw everything forward in search of an undeserved draw, but it proved to be too late to mount a comeback.
WIFC faced Carlisle in the final game, and were able to step up their performance level, keen not to go out without troubling the scorers. A long range free kick from Ben Pegram gave the Internet ‘Orns a 1-0 lead at half time, while two second half headers from Rob Sterry from great crosses by Pegram and Stuart Nicholls gave WIFC a fairly comfortable 3-0 win.
“As preparation for Worldnet, with the team not having played together for some time, the day served it’s purpose and we were able to shake off some cobwebs” said joint manager Dave Messenger. “It’s always tough to adapt to the 30 minute game format and the way these games went, especially the West Ham match, gave us all food for thought as we approach Leeds. We know what’s required, and we’ll work towards this when we take on Stevenage in our last warm up next weekend” added Messenger.
Barnet went on to win the group, despite a 3-5 reverse against West Ham in the last match. They met AFC Wimbledon, winners of the 2nd group containing Stevenage, Cambridge and Enfield, and the Wombles lifted the trophy after a 1-0 win the final.
Squad – Richard Walker, Phil McBride, Ed Sterry, Matt Ainsley, Stuart Nicholls, Dave Messenger, Matt Ball, Frank Smith, Lee Evans, Martin Owen, Panos Fellas, Simon Jones, Joel Moody, Ben Pegram, Dave Soloway, Rob Sterry.