WIFC got their first win of the new season in a London Cup/IFA League double header at Leyton Orient on Saturday. With the result counting for two competitions, WIFC were keen to get off the mark for the season after defeats at Preston and Stevenage, and they got off to a flying start when hard-working midfielder Stuart Holdham atoned for his late miss at Stevenage when he turned in a Rob Sterry corner at the far post with just 5 minutes on the clock.
On a small pitch which made finding space difficult, the game settled into a somewhat scrappy pattern with chances at a premium. Richard Murphy might have done better with a close range effort after good work from Sterry and James Jenkins while at the other end, WIFC were struggling to cope with the quick home left winger and were indebted to a fine Jeremy Hinds save to protect the one goal lead until the break.
WIFC started the second half brightly, and were able to double their lead when Sterry’s through ball sent Martin Pollard through on goal and the veteran, back on as a striker, coolly lobbed the home keeper for his first goal of the season. Orient continued to defend doggedly but with Holdham and Jenkins dominating in midfield, WIFC started to create more chances and it was no surprise when Andy Myall finished a goalmouth scramble for his second in two games. The scoring was completed when Matt Ainsley sent Murphy clear, and his goalbound effort was turned in by a home defender.
Manager Chris Davis was delighted with the win, which sets up a winner takes all London Cup group game against AFC Wimbledon A next month and gets the league points tally up and running. “It was hard work due to the pitch and a decent Leyton Orient side” said Davis. “Defensively we looked solid, full marks to Jez on his clean sheet, and the midfield was creative and well marshalled by Stu and James especially. Despite the fact we again didn’t have a recognised striker for much of the game, we always looked dangerous going forward and could have scored more than 4”.
Next week sees a fourth away game on the spin for WIFC, as they take on AFC Wimbledon B in an IFA Cup tie. Having been knocked out in the first round last season, WIFC will be hoping to progress in the national cup competition.
Team. 4-4-1-1, R to L. Jeremy Hinds; Phil McBride (C), Maurice Clarke, Martin Pollard, Matt Ainsley; Ed Sterry, Stu Holdham, Rob Sterry, James Jenkins; Richard Murphy; Andy Lewers. Subs Brad Simmons, Richard Wenham, Andy Myall, Rob Stone, Dave Messenger.