Ten months on from losing the London Cup Final on penalties, WIFC again experienced shoot-out heartache in the second round of the IFA Cup against Millwall last weekend. After a cracking cup-tie, it was probably the only way to settle the tie, but with an all-time record which only includes 3 wins out of 9 shootouts WIFC can be forgiven for ruing another dramatic loss.
That said, after a first half dominated by the visitors from South London, WIFC would have taken the lottery of penalties had it been offered. The Lions raced into the lead midway through the first half, and added a second just before the break. However, a tactical switch from home manager Chris Davis brought the side back to life, as it did when 0-2 down to West Ham in that final last April.
Debutant centre half Mickey Eales reduced the arrears when he blasted home the rebound from a spilled Andy Lewers shot, and WIFC got back on terms when the influential James Jenkins broke into the box and was felled by the visiting skipper. No complaints from the Lions, and no mistake from WIFC’s leading scorer Rob Sterry, as he dispatched his 8th on just 7 starts this season from the spot.
With both sides pushing for a late winner the whistle went and despite Dave Morren missing the first kick for the home side, Richard Walker kept WIFC alive by saving Millwall’s second after Moz Clarke had atoned for his London Cup miss with a cool finish. All square going into the fourth kicks after Rob Stone had scored WIFC’s third, Walker himself rapped the crossbar and the visitors took a lead into the 5th and final takers. Sterry coolly beat the Lions keeper for a second time, but Millwall’s last man held his nerve to send his side through.
Team. 4-4-2, R to L. Richard Walker; Jamie Parkins, Moz Clarke, Mickey Eales, Brad Simmons; Richard Murphy, James Jenkins, Rob Stone, Matt Ainsley, Martin Pollard, Rob Sterry. Subs Mark Brennan, Andy Lewers, Dave Morren. Not used Tom Beck, Andy Myall, Ed Sterry.