Nicholls at the double to set-up derby win

A hat-trick from Stuart Nicholls (later downgraded to a brace in the bar for no good reason..) on his 50th WIFC appearance set up a 6-5 Herts derby win againt Barnet at Met Police yesterday.

The visitors had raced into a 2-0 lead when Nicholls was introduced as a first half sub and from his first touch, a flicked header which sent Rob Sterry scampering down the wing, the Internet ‘Orns pulled one back as Richard Murphy converted Sterry’s low cross.

Barnet came straight back in a see-saw encounter and restored their two goal cushion, but WIFC were able to reduce the arrears again when Nicholls finished a fine team move with a smart finish from Murphy’s pull-back.

The second half saw WIFC start in the ascendancy and it was Nicholls again, heading home a Mark Brennan cross, to double his tally and bring the home side level. Minutes later, WIFC took the lead for the first time when Paul Whittenbury’s free kick from halfway was sliced in by a visiting defender.

Not be outdone, Barnet took advantage of WIFC taking their foot off the pdeal and pulled themselves level, but from the kick-off the advantage was restored when Dave Soloway broke into the area and Nicholls smashed home the resulting cross, allowing WIFC to keep their noses in front.

Still the game wasn’t over, and Barnet pulled level again with a controversial penalty, but WIFC were not to be outdone and with minutes to play, Rob Sterry got between a visiting defender and the keeper, and lobbed home the winning goal.

Nicholls deservedly won the Man of the Match cow for his treble, while a good team effort after a sloppy first half hour meant that WIFC had recorded their tenth league win of the season for the first time since 2008/09.

Tom Beck; Brad Simmons, Jamie Parkins, Mickey Eales, Matt Ainsley; Richard Murphy, Rob Stone, Dave Soloway, Joel Moody; Mark Brennan, Rob Sterry. Subs Stuart Nicholls, James Jenkins, Maurice Clarke, Paul Whittenbury and Andy Myall.

Second half comeback leads to more penalty woe for WIFC

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.

Internet ‘Orns secure London Cup Semi-final spot

WIFC recorded their 6th win their last 7 outings at Parmiters School this Saturday, beating AFC Wimbledon A 2-1 and securing a London Cup Semi-Final berth in the process. Having beaten the same opponents in the last four in the previous campaign, WIFC will be happy to get a shot at emulating last season’s run to the final. While last season’s meeting resulted in a comfortable win for WIFC, this game was a far closer affair.

An attritional game, with chances at a premium and plenty of endeavor on both sides, left the outcome in doubt until the final stages. WIFC took the lead just before the break, when top scorer Rob Sterry connected with a deep Richard Murphy cross to give the home side a lead at the break. The visitors pressed in the second half, and following their equaliser they began to control the midfield battle. WIFC dug in and with the defence, led by Moz Clarke, Jamie Parkins and Richard Wenham, restricted the visitors chances despite their dominance.

WIFC retained a threat on the break, and won the game with the best move of the match. James Jenkins won a second ball in midfield, and beat a man before sending a great pass behind the full-back for Sterry to run onto. The pint-sized forward beat his man and sent a great low cross into the box where striker partner Dave Soloway met the ball with a perfect diving header to secure the win for the hosts.

The semi-final draw will be finalised between now and the end of December, with most of the remaining group games due to be played in the next two weeks.

Group A Pl W D L F A GD PTS West Ham 12 v 1 London Carlisle
West Ham 3 1 1 1 17 8 9 6 Stevenage 4 v 2 West Ham
Stevenage 2 2 0 0 8 2 6 6 West Ham 3 v 3 Barnet
Barnet 1 0 1 0 3 3 0 2 London Carlisle 0 v 4 Stevenage
London Carlisle 2 0 0 2 1 16 -15 2 London Carlisle v Barnet
Barnet v Stevenage
Group B Pl W D L F A GD PTS AFC Wimbledon B 5 v 1 Dagenham & R
AFC Wimbledon B 2 1 0 1 6 6 0 4 AFC Wimbledon B 1 v 5 Hampton & R
Hampton & R 1 1 0 0 5 1 4 3 Dagenham & R v Hampton & R
Dagenham & R 1 0 0 1 1 5 -4 1
Group C Pl W D L F A GD PTS
Watford 2 2 0 0 6 1 4 6 Watford 2 v 1 AFC Wimbledon A
AFC Wimbledon A 2 1 0 1 5 2 4 4 AFC Wimbledon A 4 v 0 Leyton Orient
Leyton Orient 2 0 0 2 0 8 -8 2 Leyton Orient 0 v 4 Watford

Team. 4-4-2, R to L. Jez Hinds; Phil McBride, Moz Clarke, Richard Wenham, Stu Nicholls; Richard Muprhy, James Jenkins, Rob Stone, Panos Fellas; Rob Sterry, Dave Soloway. Subs Brad Simmons, Jamie Parkins, Andy Myall, Matt Ainsley, Joel Moody.

Yellows v Reds – It’s a Nose-off !

It’s the moment WIFC has been waiting for.. the long awaited nose-off between Rich Wenham and Dave Soloway will be taking place this Saturday at the Met Police, as the two long-serving club stalwarts go nose-to-nose and manage the Yellows and Reds in the annual game.

It’s a nose-off !!

Last year, Phil McBride led his Red Squirrels to a 4-3 victory against Matt Wells’ Yellow Badgers, so Soloway will be hoping to emulate that success as he takes on the reds, while Wenham will manage the yellows. The squads for this momentous challenge are below, and it’s good to see some old names coming out of retirement to join the fun, not least club record appearance maker Julian Carrera and exiled Swede Jerker Kjellander is also over for the game.

YELLOWS – Manager Richard Wenham

Richard Walker, Brad Simmons, Jerker Kjellander, Warren Bolton (mate of CD) Julian Carrera, Matt Ainsley, Moz Clarke, Stu Nicholls, Joel Moody, Rich Murphy, Rich Wenham plus two mates of Warren Bolton

REDS – Manager Dave Soloway

Jez Hinds, Ed Sterry, Richard Messenger, Alan McTavish, Paul Labbett, Mat Ball, Jamie Parkins, Andy Lewers, James Jenkins, Rob Stone, Paul Whittenbury, Dave Soloway, Alex Prentice, Dave Messenger.

If any further players are available, please let Chris Davis know and he’ll add them to the squads.

Five in a row for the Internet ‘Orns

WIFC recorded a 4-1 win against Northampton at the weekend, to make it five wins in a row since the middle of September. The run is the best the club has had since early 2008, and has propelled WIFC back into the top ten in the IFA league for the first time since 2009.

Keeper Richard Walker organises the back four to defend a Cobblers corner

WIFC were made to work hard for the win by a decent, hard-working Cobblers side, who embodied the spirit in which IFA games are played. After a patchy start to the game, both sides started to knock the ball about and it was the home side who struck first when Dave Soloway chased a lost cause on the goal-line. While his pull back intended for Ben Clarke was blocked, the ball fell nicely for the recently married Soloway, who finished smartly for his first goal of the season.

Richard Murphy prepares to challenge for a high ball, watched by James Jenkins.

Just as last week at Chorley, the goal put a spring in the step of the Internet ‘Orns, who went on to dominate the rest of the first half. The lead was doubled when Andy Lewers sprinted clear of the visiting full-back and his firmly struck, low cross was diverted in for an own goal. It was soon three as skipper Joel Moody, revelling in space on the left flank having started the game up front, picked up the ball, cut in and smashed his second of the season from the edge of the box.

Andy Lewers (far left of pic) and Brad Simmons (far right) formed a youthful right flank for WIFC

The second half saw the visitors re-group and work hard to stifle the home side. Lewers, Moody and Richard Murphy sent in a number of decent crosses, and man of the match Brad Simmons overlapped well, but the visitors held firm until the 60th minute, when Alex Prentice controlled the ball and finished neatly to become the 18th different goalscorer for WIFC this season.

Rich Murphy, working to fashion another crossing opportunity, watched by Moz Clarke

With further chances falling to Prentice and Matt Ainsley, WIFC could have extended their lead further, but it was the visitors who completed the scoring when their exuberant full-back got forward, grabbed a deserved consolation and earned a yellow card for a somewhat excitable celebration involving his shirt and the corner flag.

Matt Ainsley (far left)n gets a shot away, watched by Dan Willis

Team. 4-4-2, R to L. Richard Walker; Brad Simmons, Stu Nicholls, Maurice Clarke, Matt Wells; Richard Murphy, James Jenkins, Dave Soloway, Matt Ainsley; Joel Moody, Ben Clarke. Subs Andy Lewers, Phil McBride, Dan Willis, Alex Prentice.

Pics taken by Steve Todd


Hornets legend inspires WIFC to first Lancashire win

WIFC recorded their first ever win in Lancashire at the weekend, as Hornets legendary goalkeeper Tony Coton stopped in to inspire the Internet ‘Orns to a 5-4 win. The game was not as close as the scoreline might suggest, though WIFC did let a 4 goal lead slip as the home side mounted a valiant comeback in the closing stages of an action packed match at Astley Park in Chorley.

It was the home side who drew first blood on a bitterly cold morning in the North West, when Alex Snape made the most of a mix-up in the visitors defence to lob keeper Tom Beck. However, debutant Alan McTavish and Richard Walker got organised at the centre of the defence, allowing the visitors to begin to dominate proceedings and it was no surprise when Rob Stone equalised from close range on 10 minutes.

Having lost Martin Owen to injury, WIFC then took control with three quickfire strikes. Having already tested the keeper, debutant Richard Everitt gave the visitors the lead on 26 minutes after being teed up by Jez Hinds, starting a game up front for the second time this season. A minute later, Mark Brennan capped a fine run from the wing with a smart finish from the edge of the area, then Paul Norgate made it three in three minutes when he beat a man on the edge of the box and blasted home his first goal for the club.

WIFC pose with Hornets legend Tony Coton after the match

The second half continued with WIFC in the ascendancy, and the lead was extended to 5-1 on 49 minutes. Man of the match Stone’s pass set Hinds free and the stand-in striker finished with aplomb for a birthday weekend goal. However, the home side finally stepped up a gear as their younger legs came to the fore and just as WIFC started to look comfortable, a long range free-kick from Adam McCullagh brought Chorley back into the game.

Galvanised by the goal, the home side poured forward as the game became stretched. On 80 minutes they further reduced the arrears with a diving header from Sean Wood, and when McCullagh added his second in the last minute, WIFC nerves became somewhat stretched. Chorley tried to mount one last assault on the visitors goal, but there were no further scares as WIFC held on for a fourth win on the bounce.

Speaking after the game, Coton was quick to praise the WIFC players, most of whom had made early starts to be there. “I don’t think I could have got up that early” said Coton. “Fair play to all the lads, they just about held on and it was good to see a few goals”.

WIFC return to action this coming Saturday with a home game against Northampton at Met Police Sports Club in Aldenham Road, with a 10am kick off.

Team, 4-4-2, R to L. Tom Beck; Brad Simmons, Alan McTavish, Richard Walker, Phil McBride; Mark Brennan, Paul Norgate, Martin Owen, Rob Stone; Jeremy Hinds, Alex Prentice. Subs Richard Everitt, Chris Gilbert-Anderson and Chris Davis.



Seven goals spare skipper’s red card shame

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.

Stuart’s Nicholls and Holdham prepare to challenge for a high ball

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.

WIFC defend an MK corner in action packed opening to the game

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.

WIFC’s defence regrouped after the early goalscoring spree. Nicholls, Holdham and Wenham prepare to defend a visiting goal-kick.

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.

Brad Simmons challenges for a header, watched by Stuart Nicholls

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.

Wenham contemplates his moment of madness, after his red-card disgrace.

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.

James Jenkins sets up another WIFC attack

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.

Five goal WIFC book second round berth

WIFC progressed to the second round of the IFA Challenge Cup this weekend, thanks to a 5 goal win at AFC Wimbledon B. While the scoreline appears empthatic, WIFC were made to wait until midway through the second half for the breakthrough, as the home side doggedly resisted all the Internet ‘Orns could throw at them.

The WIFC squad pose before kick-off

In a one-sided first half, home keeper Pier Barrett excelled with a series of fantastic stops, most notably from Rob Sterry, Ben Pegram and Joel Moody as the visitors looked for the opening goal. With the defence being superbly marshalled by Moz Clarke and Chris Dundon, and with Stu Holdham and James Jenkins on top in midfield, WIFC stayed on the attack for much of the half, but Barrett’s excellent shot stopping and handling prevailed, and the sides went in goalless at the break.

The hard-working James Jenkins dominated proceedings in midfield.

The second half started in much the same vein, and Barrett pulled off the save of the match to deny Sterry’s point blank header from an Andy Lewers cross. Dundon also went close with a shot that skimmed the post as the visitors searched in vain for the opening goal. A slight switch from manger Chris Davis saw Dundon move up front, with Pegram slipping back into midfield and Richard Wenham into central defence as WIFC looked to keep the pressure on the home goal.

The home side defended doggedly to keep the score at 0-0

On 71 minutes, WIFC finally made the breakthrough they deserved when Sterry was felled on the edge of the box. Having initially played an advantage, the referee pulled play back for the free kick and Sterry dusted himself down to despatch a left footed free kick into the top corner. The floodgates opened, and two minutes later Sterry prodded home with his right foot after Barrett spilled a cross. WIFC’s all-time leading scorer then completed a four minute perfect hat-trick when he headed home Dundon’s perfectly flighted cross on 75 minutes.

Rob Sterry bagged his 18th hat-trick for WIFC

With the home side tiring, WIFC were able to add more gloss to the scoreline. Firstly Pegram fired home his first of the season from the edge of the box, then Dundon won a 50/50 with Barrett and slid home his 50th WIFC goal to complete the scoring. WIFC manager Chris Davis was delighted with the team performance. “Everyone worked really hard and played some lovely football. The Wimbledon keeper kept them in the game, but everyone stayed patient and got what they deserved in the end” said Davis. WIFC now face Millwall at home in the second round, on a date to be confirmed.

Manager Davis called for patience at half-time

Team. 4-4-1-1, R to L. Jeremy Hinds; Rob Stone, Chris Dundon, Maurice Clarke, Stuart Nicholls; Andy Lewers, James Jenkins, Stuart Holdham, Joel Moody; Ben Pegram; Rob Sterry. Subs Paul Whittenbury, Richard Wenham, Brad Simmons, Phil McBride, Alex Prentice, Tom Beck.


First win of the season for WIFC

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.

96. Simon Jones

Position – Right Midfield
DOB – 4/12/1973
Apps – 7
Goals – 0
Worldnets – 1
Debut v Ipswich – Mar 2012
Nicknames – Jonesy

Winger Simon made his WIFC bow against Ipswich on a day when WIFC fielded two sides, having replied to an appeal on twitter. A skillful winger by trade, Simon went on to appear in the Supporters Direct tournament at the end of the 2011/12 season, and also made his Worldnet bow with appearances for the Vets team. He also did a mean Tom Jones for his Worldnet debut song.