Battling WIFC seal narrow win

A GRITTY second-half rearguard action from WIFC saw them hang onto a hard-earned lead to defeat doughty opposition in MK Dons 4-3 at Woodside – and, in doing so recorded their 9th win of the season.

Ross Connor had the hosts ahead inside a minute, stealing in between goalkeeper and centre-back to pinch possession and slot home his 4th goal of the season in efficient manner.
And it was 2-0 from the penalty spot some 20 minutes later when Joel Moody converted his first goal since returning from long-term injury, having picked himself up from being upended while trying to waltz past a handful of Dons’ challenges inside the box.
Richard Walker replaced the injured Jez Hinds in goal and was soon reaching for the ball from his own net after a breakaway reply from the Milton Keynes visitors halved WIFC’s advantage on the stroke of half-time.
Man-of-the-Match Charlie Wood, who received the stand-in prize of the Ayr United pennant in the absence of its Morecambe counterpart, was everywhere in central midfield for Watford – and it was from his 15-yard shot that Mark O’Connor pounced to stab home his 10th goal of an impressive debut season from the rebound, to make it 3-2 around 15 minutes into the second half.
That came after a Dons’ leveller with WIFC caught out by a hopeful free-kick forward. The flight of the ball evaded centre-half Paul Watt and left the visiting striker with a simple tap-in.
The Internet ‘Orns restored their two-goal cushion thanks to a fine free-kick delivery from wide which was powered home by the head (or possibly nose) of Dave Soloway for his 4th of the season.
But MK Dons weren’t done. And from something like the 20th long throw launched into the Watford box, most of which had been commandingly dealt with by Walker’s come-for-everything policy, the WIFC keeper could only palm out the latest missile to a grateful Dons’ goalscorer.
There were one or two further anxious moments for WIFC as late pressure was applied, but the Hornets hung tough for a win by the odd goal in seven.
Squad (all played): Hinds, Walker, Watt, Maloney, Stone, De Crescenzo, Clarke, Fellas, Butterick, Wood, Murphy, Moody, Soloway, Connor, O’Connor.
Goalscorers: Connor, Moody (pen), O’Connor, Soloway.

Scottish trip awaits for Internet ‘Orns

WIFC will undertake their first journey north of the border for 8 years in the Quarter Finals of the IFA Cup, having been drawn against St Johnstone. The tie, which will take place on Saturday 26th March, is the internet ‘Orns first appearance at this stage since 2011 and manager Richard Walker was delighted with the draw. ‘Travelling for a fixture like this is what the IFA is all about’ said Walker. ‘We’re already making plans and look forward to taking a full team north of the border’

WIFC’s last trip to Scotland saw a marathon journey to Aberdeen for an IFA Cup Quarter Final back in 2008. Goals from veteran trio Martin Owen, Chris Westcott and Martin Pollard weren’t enough to prevent a 3-5 reverse. Halifax were 4-1 winners in WIFC’s last outing at this stage, with Paul Withey scoring the solitary goal.

Availability details will be confirmed via the club’s Facebook group page in due course.

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The intrepid WIFC squad line-up before the 2008 IFA cup Quarter Final in Aberdeen

WIFC secure Cup Quarter-Final berth

Watford IFC booked their place in the Quarter Finals of the IFA national cup this Saturday with a comprehensive 4-0 win over KaisAyr at Parmiter’s School. The home side, recording their first win of the calendar year in the process, took advantage of some hesitant defending to lead one-nil at the break and then stuck manfully to their game plan to add three further goals in the second half.

The two teams line-up

The two teams line-up

Having travelled almost 300 miles on the Friday, before then sampling the local night life on arrival, KaisAyr started the game surprisingly well. Their energetic early approach twice testing the Watford backline but without getting shots away. The Internet ‘Orns soon settled down though and opened the scoring as Ally Hill flicked on a cross field box and, though he’ll tell you otherwise, turned to see a defender get the last touch.

Whilst the yellows pressed for a second, going close with a number of set pieces, KaisAyr fired a warning shot (quite literally) off the face of the crossbar. After breaking with pace their forward cut in and was unfortunate to see his fierce strike cannon back and out for safety.

After playing out the remainder of the first half, the home side continued to press early in the second and were soon rewarded. Daniel Butterick, playing at wing back for the day, crossed for Mark O’Connor to bundle home for 2-0, before Ally Hill slammed home for 3-0. Whilst neither goal was particularly pleasing on the eye they took the wind out of the Scottish visitors and effectively sealed the tie.

At this stage it would’ve been all too easy for the Internet ‘Orns to take their foot off the gas, but with the experienced Walker and Clarke at the back (aided magnificently by all those in yellow ahead of them) that wasn’t an issue. A fourth goal was added in stoppage time too as Ally Hill raced clear, rounded the keeper, and finished well for his second of the game. It confirmed Watford IFC’s passage into the quarter finals of the IFA Cup for the first time since 2011.

Huge credit should be given to KaisAyr who epitomise the ethos of the IFA. They travelled in good numbers, just as they did for a memorable quarter final in 2009, and were a pleasure to deal with throughout. We hope to re-pay their visit later in the season.

Team: Walker, J Sitkowski, Clarke, Hill, Pegram, Butterick, Murphy, Nicholls, Wood, Soloway, O’Connor.

Subs: Holdham, Ainsley (both used).

Year ends on a positive, despite narrow defeat in East London

DESPITE a performance rightly described as ‘heroic’ by manager Richard Walker, Watford IFC’s unbeaten run, standing at eight games since the beginning of September, was ended on the Saturday before Christmas with a 4-3 defeat by Millwall.

The Internet ‘Orns took to the iconic Hackney Marshes with a bare eleven in their 650th game in club history, though did welcome back all time leading goalscorer Rob Sterry for his first appearance of the season. The prolific forward, who now resides in Florida, slotted in at left midfield as he looked to add to his impressive 188 goal tally for the club.

Despite Millwall’s recent results, featuring seven goal hauls against the likes of Preston and Gillingham, it was the away side who would open the scoring. Charlie Wood, a regular scorer in his first full season for the club, dispatched a Mark O’Connor through ball for the first. As Millwall pressed for a first half equaliser they were picked off again – Rich Walker’s audacious free kick finding the top corner from a full 25 yards. It was the player manager’s second impressive strike in successive games. The yellows 2-0 lead at the break owed to a tremendous work rate throughout the squad, with all eleven contributing.

Millwall, perhaps unrewarded for their good build up play in the first half, snatched the initiative back shortly after half time. Their first was headed home after Tom Beck had tipped an initial effort on to the bar, and their second was finished well as Watford failed to clear their lines. It was a dominant fifteen minute spell by the hosts and one which prompted Walker to don the gloves and replace Beck in goal.

This change saw an instant return, to the surprise of many, as Beck promptly headed Watford back in front with his first for the club. The makeshift forward connecting with Wood’s long throw to make it 3-2.

Millwall wouldn’t lie down though and, by throwing men forward, grabbed their second equaliser of the match to make it 3-3. This spurred them on to a fourth, and ultimately decisive goal, late in the game. Despite their battling performance Watford allowed a lively forward too much room and he took his chance well, putting Millwall into the lead for the first time. Watford had late chances of their own with both Stu Nicholls and Ben Bateman testing the keeper, but they couldn’t find a way through.

Team: Beck, Ainsley, J.Sitkowski, Bateman, Nicholls, E.Sterry, Butterick, Walker, R.Sterry, Wood, O’Connor.

Goals: Wood, Walker, Beck.

300th win wrapped up in style

Report by Tom Beck

Watford IFC extended their unbeaten run to eight games, seven of which victories, with a convincing 6-1 away win at Hampton & Richmond IFC this Saturday. The win was also the club’s 300th in all competitions since formation in 1997

The Internet “Orns, fresh from a coveted ‘six point Saturday’ the previous weekend, kicked into strong winds in the first half but dealt admirably with the conditions to lead 1-0 at the break. The opening goal, which owed much to Ben Kelly’s persistence down the left, arrived on the half hour mark with Mark O’Connor slotting home from close range. The effort was the striker’s eight goal in his debut season for the club, pushing him clear in the scoring charts. The away side had chances to extend their lead before the break too, the most glaring of which falling to Ross Connor but the usually clinical striker couldn’t score when well placed.

The second half started in similar fashion and before long WIFC had added a second goal, a Hampton player getting the final touch as a ball was whipped across the six yard box. This was the start of a superb fifteen minute spell for the men in yellow in which they added two further goals. Ben Kelly’s deft touch from a cross field ball made it 3-0 and opened his scoring account for the club, player-manager Rich Walker then curled in the fourth directly from a corner.

The visitors flooded forward in search of further goals but, much to the annoyance of the excellent John Sitkowski at centre back, failed to notice Hampton’s industrious left winger on the break. He finished superbly from the edge of the area to reduce the arrears, notching the goal of the game in the process. The home side came close to a second shortly after, however captain Matt Williams found the side netting with the goal at his mercy. Watford heeded the warning though and removed any doubt about the result with further goals from Stu Nicholls, who tucked away a penalty after O’Connor was fouled in the box, and Ben Pegram’s late strike from an angle, taking his season tally to 4.

Team: Tom Beck; Matt Ainsley, David Sitkowski, John Sitkowski, Stuart Nicholls; Ben Pegram, Dan Butterick, Ben Kelly, Richard Murphy, Ross Connor, Mark O’Connor.

Subs (all used): Richard Walker, Stuart Holdham, Ben Bateman, Brad Simmons.

West Midlands double for Internet ‘Orns

WIFC extended their unbeaten run to 7 games with a six goal win against Walsall, on a cold West Midlands morning. Having taken one of the largest squads to an away game in a long time, all 16 players saw plenty of action. A ten minute spell in the first half effectively settled the outcome and completed the first half of a ‘six point Saturday’ win double thanks to the big boys win at Aston Villa.

Andy Myall was first onto the scoresheet when he collected a fine Richard Murphy pass and finished in style. The lead was doubled almost immediately when a half cleared corner was returned with interest by James Jenkins. Lamar St Cyr then burst in from the right wing to finish from an acute angle. Right on the break, WIFC added a 4th when Tom Smithson connected with Joel Moody’s corner and sent a thumping header into the top corner.

Any hopes of a Walsall comeback in the second half were quickly removed when Myall added a second, tapping home after a goalmouth scramble and Dave Soloway completed the scoring when teed up perfectly by Moody. Keeper Tom Beck then made a fine full length save to ensure his first clean sheet of the season. The whole defence contributed, none less than Matt Ainsley, who put in a man of the match performance as a makeshift centre half and the returning stalwart Paul Labbett.

Team. 4-4-2, R to L. Tom Beck; Cleveland Brandy, Matt Ainsley, Dan Butterick, Ben Pegram; Lamar St Cyr, Richard Murphy, James Jenkins, Andy Myall; Jeremy Hinds, Mark O’Connor. Subs Paul Labbett, Joel Moody, Ed Sterry, Dave Soloway, Tom Smithson.

 

Six unbeaten for Internet ‘Orns

HAVING opened the 2015/16 season with 5 defeats, WIFC extended their unbeaten run to six games with a comfortable 5-0 win against Leyton Orient at a soggy Woodside today. The home side were off to another fast start when Tom Smithson headed home a Ben Pegram corner with only a minute on the clock. Smithson then turned provider to feed Dan Butterick, who showed some neat footwork to dig the ball out from under his feet and curl a shot into the bottom corner.

Joel Moody’s missed penalty didn’t distract the Internet ‘Orns too much as they kept the pressure on their hardworking visitors. Captain Ally Hill opened his account for the season with a close range finish at the second time of asking and then turned provider with a storming run and cross which was finished with a crafty chip from Charlie Wood, who followed his hat-trick against West Ham with his 4th of the season.

The second half arguably saw WIFC play better and create more clear-cut chances than the first, but a combination of wayward finishing, good goalkeeping and last ditch defending from a dogged Orient side kept the scoreline at 4 until Ross Connor finished high into the corner after a great pass from Hill, whose goal and 2 assists saw him named man of the match.

Team. 4-4-2, R to L. Jez Hinds; Brad Simmons, John Sitkowski, Ben Bateman, Dave Sitkowski; Ben Pegram, Ally Hill (c), Dan Butterick, Joel Moody; Tom Smithson, Charlie Wood. Subs Paul Withey, Ross Connor, Ed Sterry, Richard Walker.

 

 

Five star WIFC break long winless run

Watford IFC ended a 17 game winless run against West Ham supporters this Saturday, with an entertaining 5-3 win at Cassiobury Park.

Despite not beating their East London opponents in a full fixture since the 2007/08 season, the Internet ‘Orns dominated the opening 20 minutes and found themselves 3-0 up. First Tom Smithson grabbed his second for the club, after notching in a recent victory at MK Dons, then Charlie Wood opened his own account with two well taken finishes. Whilst bucking the recent trend again West Ham, the 3-0 scoreline was the least Watford deserved for a high tempo, direct, and disciplined opening period of the match.

The home side couldn’t carry this performance through to the break though, West Ham capitalising on slack marking at a set piece to head themselves back into the game. At this point the visitors were enjoying more of the ball, winning the 50-50s, and pushing WIFC increasingly back to their penalty box.

It was the home side who’d score next though, and take a 4-1 lead into half time, as Ben Pegram’s cross come shot took a fortuitous bounce over the shoulder of the West Ham keeper. It was very much against the run of play and masked the visitors latter dominance.

Although warned at half time, WIFC struggled to match their earlier fine play and again conceded. This time a poor clearance fell to West Ham’s Will Bush and he bent a shot in from the edge of the box. The home side were then indebted to Jeremy Hinds’ fine reaction save, tipping a close range header onto the underside of the bar.

Much like the first half, WIFC found themselves up against it but broke to score a decisive goal. Charlie Wood battled down the left before cutting in and grabbing his hat trick with a firmly hit effort. He becomes the second player to open his scoring account for the club with a hat trick this season, following Mark O’Connor’s four goal haul against Tranmere.

As time ticked on West Ham would score again, this time from the penalty spot, but Watford held on and extended their unbeaten run to five games. It was a deserved win on the balance of play and nicely set up a six point Saturday, with the big boys following suit in the afternoon.

Team: Jez Hinds; Dave Morren, Mike De-Crescenzo, Dan Butterick, Matt Ainsley; Richard Murphy, Stuart Holdham, Ally Hill, Ben Pegram; Charlie Wood, Tom Smithson. Subs Tom Beck, Panos Fellas, Andy Myall, Mark O’Connor, Ben Bateman.

7-up for WIFC

AFTER notching their first win of the season last time out, WIFC racked up a convincing 7-2 win at MK Dons this morning. After 5 defeats on the spin since the start of the 2015/16 campaign, WIFC’s 20th season of IFA football, the Internet ‘Orns have struck 12 times in the two wins to get the season back on track.

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Manager Richard Walker rallies the troops pre-match

 

After a fast start during which Tom Smithson and Dave Sitkowski both went close, WIFC took the lead after Smithson was tripped in the box and Ben Pegram slotted home the resulting spot kick. WIFC were indebted to a Jez Hinds save as MK attacked from the restart and it was soon 2-0 as the home keeper dropped a high Pegram cross and Mark O’Connor bundled home the loose ball.

Mark O'Connor continued his goalscoring start in style

Mark O’Connor continued his goalscoring start in style

WIFC kept up the early pace and O’Connor scored again shortly afterwards, sliding in to convert a low Smithson cross, while Smithson and Dan Butterick both drew good saves from the home keeper. WIFC completed a strong first half display when Dave Soloway powerfully headed home a Pegram corner.

The challenge for the second half was to keep performance levels high, but it took a dubious goal from the home side to spark WIFC back into life. A superbly worked free-kick restored the 4 goal advantage when Jimmy Davis’s smart chipped free-kick set Lamar St Cyr away, his cross diverted for a deserved first goal for the club by Smithson.

Jimmy Davis capped his latest return from injury with a fine display in midfield

Jimmy Davis capped his latest return from injury with a fine display in midfield

MK Dons added a second when a long ball was converted by the centre forward but as legs tired and gaps opened, WIFC were able to add two more. Davis finished smartly after good work from Solway, then O’Connor completed consecutive hat-tricks when he tapped in after being teed up perfectly by Richard Murphy.

John Sitkowski's excellent display, after being moved inside to centre half after injury to Moz Clarke, saw him win the inaugural 'Morecambe Pennant MOM' award

John Sitkowski’s excellent display, after being moved inside to centre half after an early injury to Moz Clarke, saw him win the inaugural ‘Morecambe Pennant MOM’ award

Hampton & Richmond await next weekend, while the 2014/15 awards will be dished out that evening at the traditional venue, Ali Baba’s in Watford.

Team. 4-4-2, `R to L.
Jez Hinds; John Sitkowski, Moz Clarke, Stu Nicholls, Dave Sitkowski; Ben Pegram, Dan Butterick, Lamar St-Cyr, Richard Murphy; Tom Smithson, Mark O’Connor. Subs Cleveland Brandy, David Morren, Dave Soloway, Jimmy Davis.

 

2015/16

All the results and stats from 2015/16

Overall Record

WIFC 15/16 Pld W D L GS GA GD
League 25 12 2 11 88 77 11
Friendlies 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cup Games 7 3 2 2 7 5 2
TOTAL 32 15 4 13 95 82 13
Goals Per Game 2.97 2.56
Leading Scorer
Mark O’Connor – 20
Leading Appearances
Dan Butterick – 26
Final League Position
8th
Final English League Position
6th
IFA Cup
Semi-Finals
London Cup
Group Stages
Worldnet
Quarter-Finals
Worldnet Vets
Did Not Enter
Car Boot Cup
Runners-Up

Results and Scorers

Date Comp Opposition   Score Scorers
15-Aug-15 LGE1 WBA H L 2-7 Nicholls, Farnfield
23-Aug-15 LGE2 Southampton H L 3-4 Butterick 2, D Sitkowski
29-Aug-15 LGE3 Man City A L 2-5 Brandy, Twelves
05-Sep-15 LGE4/LCGRP Brentford Hey Jude A L 1-7 Murphy
12-Sep-15 LGE5 Stevenage A L 0-5  
26-Sep-15 LGE6/IFAC1 Tranmere H W 5-3 O’Connor 4 (1 pen), Pegram
10-Oct-15 LGE7 MK Dons A W 7-2 Pegram (Pen), O’Connor 3, Smithson, Soloway, J Davis
17-Oct-15 LGE8/LCGRP Hampton & Richmond H W 4-3 Connor 2, Holdham, Butterick
24-Oct-15 LGE9 Stoke City A D 2-2 Soloway, St Cyr
31-Oct-15 LGE10/LCGRP West Ham H W 5-3 Smithson, Wood 3, Pegram
14-Nov-15 LGE11 Leyton Orient H W 5-0 Smithson, Butterick, Hill, Wood, Connor
28-Nov-15 LGE12 Walsall A W 6-0 Myall 2, Jenkins, St Cyr, Smithson, Soloway
05-Dec-15 LGE13 Hampton & Richmond A W 6-1 O’Connor, OG, Kelly, Walker, Nicholls (Pen), Pegram
19-Dec-15 LGE14 Millwall A L 3-4 Wood, Walker, Beck
02-Jan-16 LGE15 Millwall H L 1-3 Wood
09-Jan-16 LGE16 Stevenage H L 2-4 R Sterry 2
23-Jan-16 LGE17/IFAC2 Ayr H W 4-0 OG, Hill 2, O’Connor
20-Feb-16 LGE18 MK Dons H W 4-3 Connor, Moody (pen), O’Connor, Soloway
05-Mar-16 LGE19 AFC Wimbledon A D 3-3 O’Connor, Moody, Wood
26-Mar-16 LGE20/IFACQF St Johnstone A W 3-1 Twelves 2, Pegram
09-Apr-16 LGE21 West Ham A W 6-0 O’Connor 5, R Sterry
16-Apr-16 LGE22 WBA A L 1-8 Hill
30-Apr-16 LGE23 Leyton Orient A W 8-0 Connor, Hill 3, Pegram 2 (1 pen), O’Connor 2
03-May-16 CBC West Ham A L 1-2 O’Connor
08-May-16 LGE24 Tranmere A L 4-6 Twelves 2, Nicholls (Pen), O’Connor
21-May-16 LGE25/IFACSF Rochdale N L 1-3 Twelves
23-Jul-16 Worldnet A’s Stevenage N W 2-0 Twelves, Soloway
23-Jul-16 Worldnet A’s Man Utd N D 0-0  
23-Jul-16 Worldnet A’s RC Lens N W 2-1 Twelves, Church
23-Jul-16 Worldnet A’s AFC Halifax N L 1-2 Twelves
24-Jul-16 Worldnet A’s Sheffield United N W 1-0 Connor
24-Jul-16 Worldnet A’s Runcorn Linnets N D 0-0 *lost 2-4 on pens

Appearances

Name 15/16 Apps
Dan Butterick 26
Ben Pegram 24
Stuart Nicholls 23
Matt Ainsley 23
Richard Murphy 22
Mark O’Connor 21
Charlie Wood 18
Dave Soloway 14
Ross Connor 14
Ally Hill 14
Tom Beck 13
Richard Walker 13
Stuart Holdham 12
Maurice Clarke 12
Tommy Twelves 12
Ed Sterry 11
Michael De Crescenzo 11
John Sitkowski 11
Ben Bateman 11
Brad Simmons 10
Connor Church 10
Joel Moody 9
David Sitkowski 9
Lamar St Cyr 9
Cleveland Brandy 9
Ben Kelly 9
Phil McBride 8
Jeremy Hinds 8
Liam McGarry 6
Tom Smithson 5
Rob Stone 4
David Morren 4
Rob Sterry 4
Ben Smith 4
Ben Sheldon 4
Dave Messenger 3
Panos Fellas 3
Andy Myall 3
James Farnfield 3
Lewis Duxbury 3
Neil Crossley 3
James Jenkins 2
Paul Watt 2
Jimmy Davis 2
Paul Withey 2
Neil Hall 2
Dean Maloney 2
Andrew Ibbott 2
Richard Wenham 1
Paul Labbett 1
Marc Duffy 1
Ben Clarke 1
John Machin 1
Ryan Viduka 1
Rob Booth 1
Adam Gallichan 1

Scorers

Name 15/16 Goals
Mark O’Connor 20
Tommy Twelves 9
Ally Hill 7
Ben Pegram 7
Charlie Wood 7
Dave Soloway 5
Ross Connor 5
Dan Butterick 4
Tom Smithson 4
Stuart Nicholls 3
Rob Sterry 3
Joel Moody 2
Richard Walker 2
Lamar St Cyr 2
Andy Myall 2
Own Goals 2
Tom Beck 1
Stuart Holdham 1
Richard Murphy 1
James Jenkins 1
David Sitkowski 1
Jimmy Davis 1
Cleveland Brandy 1
Ben Kelly 1
Connor Church 1
James Farnfield 1