WIFC ran out 7-4 winners against MK Dons this weekend. In an action packed game that saw penalties at both ends and a rare IFA red card for home skipper Richard Wenham, WIFC recorded their 250th win in their 550th game since the club’s formation in 1997.
Dons manager Matt Barnes had predicted a high-scoring encounter before the game, as the previous 5 games had seen 26 goals racked up between the teams, and the game certainly lived up to that billing. The home side scored first after just two minutes, when a Rob Sterry header was only half cleared, and Richard Murphy smashed home his first of the season from close range. MK equalised just two minutes later, when Josh Shipley rose highest to head home a free-kick.
The scoring frenzy continued in the 9th minute, when Sterry took a Matt Ainsley through ball into the area and was felled. Sterry picked himself up and dispatched the resulting spot kick high into the net. MK struck back quickly again, and proved their manager correct when Ricky Reeve fired home after a poor clearance from a corner in the 11th minute.
The game finally developed into a more natural pattern as both defences regrouped. It took a full twenty minutes for the next goal to arrive, when Ben Pegram’s free kick was headed on by Sterry, and Murphy was on hand again to score from close range. The half ended with MK in the ascendancy, but the home side were able to keep the score at 3-2 going into the break.
The second half started in the same vein for the home team at least, when Sterry extended the lead in the 48th minute with a smart, first-time finish to another through ball from man of the match Ainsley. This time, MK were unable to strike straight back, and when Pegram swung in a corner which everyone missed that curled in at the far post to make it 5-2 after 64 minutes, WIFC might have thought they had done enough.
MK weren’t to be outdone though, and were quickly back in the game after a mix-up between Tom Beck and Brad Simmons left Bobby Marsh with a tap-in. Then in the 77th minute came the moment of high drama. Following an MK corner which led to a goalmouth scramble, WIFC captain Wenham decided the best course of action with the ball flying goalwards would be to launch himself across the goal and make a stunning two handed save that any keeper would be proud of. Referee Mat Ball had no choice but to brandish the red card, the first in club history in a home game, and Chris Patrickson made no mistake with the resulting spot-kick.
With the result back in the balance, WIFC steeled themselves to defend the lead. To their delight, they were still able to expose MK on the break, and when James Jenkins was fouled on the edge of the area on 85 minutes, Pegram stepped up to strike home the resulting free-kick for his second of the morning. WIth MK throwing men forward, a 7th goal was added with practically the last kick of the game when Murphy’s shot was parried, and last season’s top scorer Joel Moody smashed home the rebound for his first goal of the season.
Manager Chris Davis was understandably delighted after the win, WIFC’s third in a row, after starting the season with two defeats. “I’m really pleased with the win. Another solid performance where both teams were dangerous when attacking but we were more clinical over the 90 minutes” said Davis. “After the fully deserved sending off we made a couple of tactical changes with the intention of protecting the lead while trying to catch them on the break, which we did twice”
WIFC return to action next weekend, when they travel to Lancashire for the second time this season, to take on the fans of non-league side AFC Chorley before heading to Blackburn for the Watford game that afternoon.
Team. 4-4-1-1, R to L. Tom Beck; Brad Simmons, Chris Dundon, Richard Wenham, Phil McBride; Richard Murphy, James Jenkins, Ben Pegram, Matt Ainsley; Rob Sterry; Alex Prentice. Subs Stuart Nicholls, Stuart Holdham, Andy Myall, Rob Stone, Joel Moody.