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Premier Division

Ilford 1 Woodford Town 2017 0

Wednesday 22nd November

Ilford’s recent form has been a little bit sporadic recently; for every game won there has then been a defeat to follow. But they bounced back from the weekend’s defeat at Basildon United by battling to a 1-0 victory over Woodford Town 2017 at Cricklefield on Wednesday evening.

The Foxes were attempting to get balls behind the Woodford defence but often the final ball was over hit. However Paul Oshin did send over a fine delivery that the Woodford defence cleared and Jack Grosvenor, the Woods captain, showed some good defending to cut out a ball that was making its way to Alan Mussoke, away for a corner. Glody Nsamu wasn’t able to get his header down and so it sailed over the Woodford cross bar.

Mussoke did win a free kick for the Foxes after he was scythed down but the free kick was blocked by the Woods wall and then hooked clear. The Foxes hadn’t created too much up front as the half reached the half way mark. Jason Willis, the Ilford keeper, wasn’t kept too busy either with the odd cross and a couple of corners being the sum total of the work he had to do. His counterpart, Nick Wilson, hadn’t been called upon too much himself, as his well-drilled defence dealt with anything that came their way. However Wilson did need to show good reflexes when he had to dive to his left to palm away a Nsamu shot and then had to dive full stretch to his right to tip away Chris Lockwood’s rebound effort. Bill Bungay then fired wide for the hosts, before James Peagram found himself bearing down on goal and hitting a low shot that was superbly saved by Wilson.

Woodford hadn’t offered much up front but three of their players almost capitalised on Bungay’s slip just outside the Ilford box, but Willis reacted quickly and was off his line and booting the ball away before Woodford forwards could get a sniff. Then in the closing seconds of the half Dion Lewis-Kirwan was able to use his speed to get past the Ilford defence but his shot lacked accurancy and it ended up sailing wide of the goal. The half time whistle went just as the Woods were getting a foothold on the game.

The second half saw the wind pick up and patchy rain which didn’t help proceedings much. However Ilford made things a little harder for themselves when Nsamu received his second yellow card and was sent from the field of play. In between then Peagram has also failed to put the finishing touch to a ball that had swept across the Woodford goalmouth.

Lockwood had a shot that was dipping towards goal which Wilson tipped over the bar and then Peagram fired a shot over. Woodford were not testing Willis too much with only a wayward backpass needing the Foxes keeper to charge down Lewis-Kirwan’s run before clearing. But Woodford’s brick wall defence meant that despite some nice link-up play the Foxes were not able to fire off too many shots and it looked like the game was heading for a goalless draw.

That all changed a minute from time when Ilford won a free kick which George Whitelock curled past Wilson and his wall landing into the left corner of the net and sparking off mass celebrations from his team mates.

But there was still time for the Woods to muster a couple of forays as they looked to get an instant equaliser. Babatunde Alimi had a run into the Ilford box halted by Jonah Gregory who knocked the ball away for a corner. And then deep into stoppage time Ola Ogunwamide unleashed a shot straight at Willis who blocked the shot without too much difficulty.

The win could kickstart Ilford’s campaign as they are now up to seventh in the table. It means that Allan Fenn’s men can now target the top six – although they have a tough assignment on Saturday as they travel to the Old Spotted Dog to face old adversaries Clapton.

Ilford: Jason Willis, Bill Bungay, Alex Akanbi, Paul Oshin (Capt), Eamon Payne, Jonah Gregory, Andrea Mantovani (Issac Nkosi 67’), Chris Lockwood, James Peagram, Glody Nsamu, Alan Mussoke (George Whitelock 57’).

Scorer – George Whitelock (89’)

Woodford Town 2017: Nick Wilson, James Wilkinshaw, Ola Ogunwamide, Josh Steele (Larry Asare 52’), Jack Grosvenor (Capt), Taku Mashingaidze, Ryley Scott, Andre Bennett, Yusuf Topal (Babatunde Alimi 65’), Ethan Kessel, Dion Lewis-Kirwan (Ekundayo Abdul 77’).

Report by Scott Lanza

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