IW 4, Winchester V 0
IW STARTED the new year with a comfortable win over third-placed Winchester to move nine points clear of third place and stay safely within the promotion places.
The visitors were on an impressive run, losing just twice in 11 games, and provided a good test for the IW, but the hosts held firm.
After a cagey opening few minutes, IW struck first when a cross from Colin Simmonds was played into the path of John Kirby by Simon Butler, and he smashed home from the edge of the area.
They doubled their lead when James Liddiard broke through and, after drawing the keeper, unselfishly passed to an unmarked Butler, who prodded the ball home.
Winchester then stepped up a gear and created chances themselves but all too often the final touch let them down, with IW also defending well with Dan Bartlett, in particular, having a great game. Keeper Tom Butt did have to be alert to keep out one powerful shot at his near post, but was otherwise largely untroubled.
With the half drawing to a close, IW extended their lead further, Lewis Heaven-Gandy picking out Butler — who was again unmarked — who slotted home.
The second half was more even, with Winchester proving difficult to break down while looking dangerous on the counter attack. Again the opposition’s final touch or pass let them down too often, and when they did get through on goal, Butt proved difficult to get past and kept out any shots.
The only goal of the half came when Simmonds was given a free run at goal following good movement by the forward line to draw the defence, and he shot home from the top of the area.
This weekend IW face a tricky tie as they continue their quest for the league title, as they travel to fourth-placed Basingstoke.
IW: Butt, Bartlett, Heaven-Gandy, Stubbings, Reynolds, Allen, Gould, Simmonds, Kirby, Liddiard, Butler, Parker.