WIFC set up a six point Saturday with a third straight league win over West Ham on a bright but windy Saturday morning in Hackney. The visitors went into this fixture knowing that West Ham would be looking to atone for last season’s results and started on the front foot. Having seen the majority of the ball in the opening stages, a couple of early spurned chances were soon forgotten when Richard Murphy opened the scoring through a cross come shot looped over the players inside the box and the keeper and nestled into the net.
Mark O’Connor, who scored 5 in the corresponding fixture last season, also started the game well and the Watford youngster soon doubled the advantage with a tidy finish from just inside the box, finishing low and hard away from the keeper. The home defence was then breached a third time, with Stuart Nicholls notching his 6th goal of the season from close range following a sloppy West Ham clearance from a corner.
The Internet ‘Orns made it 4 before half time when the West Ham defence again failed to contain O’Connor, who was upended inside the area. Last season’s leading scorer picked himself up to take the kick, which was confidently dispatched for his second of the game and season.
The second half saw the swapping of goalkeepers with Ally Hill going between the sticks for the second 45 against a strong wind and worsening conditions, following an unselfish but collected first half in goal from Steve Eustice. West Ham started the half strongly, as the visitors struggled to contain and manage a change in formation, which lead to a flurry of chances. Man of the match Hill was equal to the task and produced a string of impressive, albeit camera worthy saves.
West Ham eventually pulled one back with 25 minutes to play, which was no less than they deserved following a long ball that was not properly dealt with by the Watford defence and a calm finish through the legs of Hill. Any thought’s of a comeback were curtailed by WIFC’s 5th and final goal of the game, when Ben Pegram collected the ball 30 yards from goal and with a big assist from the wind deceived the keeper with a curling lob with 15 minutes to go.
So a 3rd win in 4 from the start of the season, and an ideal platform for forthcoming cup matches against Crawley and Preston.
Team. Steve Eustice; Ed Sterry, Ally Hill, Dan Butterick, Matt Ainsley; Ben Pegram, Stuart Holdham, Adam Gallichan, Stuart Nicholls, Richard Murphy; Mark O’Connor. Subs: Charlie Wood, Phil McBride, Andrew Ibbott