Ilford 1 Redbridge 2
Saturday 23rd December
A Brian Moses brace ensured that Redbridge picked up all the points against Ilford in an entertaining and hard-fought local derby at Cricklefields that was a real Christmas cracker.
Moses found himself bearing down on goal twice inside the opening ten minutes but on both occasions was foiled by the quick reactions of Ilford keeper Chris Clark who was off his line to remove the danger. The Motormen should have taken the lead in the 12th minute when a ball from the right flank fell nicely to Reside Coxi-Sebastfao but he thumped the chance over the bar. Tony Cookey, recently signed by Ilford from tenants Barkingside, also had a couple of scraps to feed on that were snuffed out by solid Redbridge defending. However in the 22nd minute Cookey had an audacious overhead kick that whistled inches wide.
The back-and-forth continued with Redbridge soon mounting another attack as Moses went on an amazing run that took him into the Ilford box. Moses then teed up Coxi-Sebastfao who flashed his shot into the side netting. The same Redbridge player then burst towards the Ilford goal before being halted by Jonah Gregory who put in a solid tackle just as Coxi-Sebastfao was about to pull the trigger. The Ilford defence was well marshalled and when Moses again found his way past the Ilford defence he then found his way to goal blocked by Clarke who charged the ball down.
Ilford too were having their moments, with Liam Burgess pinging a shot that just missed the target before the Foxes took the lead in the 39th minute. A ball over the top eluded Liam Thomas which allowed Cookey the opportunity to slip into the box, take the ball past Lewis Greene, before rolling the ball home to open the scoring.
Having taken the lead Ilford then went looking to increase their lead but Cookey and Peagram both had a series of shots blocked and then the Motormen cleared their lines and launched a counter-attack. The ball went through the midfield, with Eljay Worrell and Coxi-Sebastfoa involved in the build-up with the final ball being played into the path of Moses who lofted the ball over Clarke to bring Redbridge level a mere four minutes after going behind.
Clark was called into action within the opening minute of the second half, diving to his right to tip away a Phillip Browne-Bampfoe shot. Greene was also involved in early action as he had to palm away a Cookey shot at the near post. Clark then pulled off a fantastic save as he acrobatically tipped away a rasping drive from Billy Gollidge.
The leaders took the lead in the 65th minute after Worrell was hauled down in the box. Moses stepped up and fired the ball past Clark. Ilford were far from out of it though and had a freekick by Gregory saved by Greene; a Warwick shot was blocked by Remi Nelsonand then the hosts went agonsiginyl close when a Peagram header left Green rooted to the spot but the ball ended up just clearing the cross bar. Redbridge went close themselves when Moses battled his way into a position to send over a cross that darted across the Foxes goalmouth but Marcus Carter just failed to connect with at the back post.
An Alex Papaskea cross was punched clear by Green who also had to cut out a few Ilford crosses. Redbridge however applied some pressure as the game entered the final ten minutes, winning a free kick when Jacob Dingli was fouled by Isaac Nkosi. Thomas fired the initially shot straight into the Ilford wall but did much better with the rebound, delivering a bending shot towards the right hand corner that was kept out by Clark. Coxi-Sebastfao was also blocked on two occasions by Bungay and Clark as Redbridge went looking for another goal to make sure of the points, which Ilford’s defence was determined to prevent happeneing. And despite that late Redbridge pressure the Foxes were still able to muster another opening when a sweeping Ilford move down the middle of the park set Cookey free and his low shot forced Green to get down low to cut out.
In the end Redbridge did just about enough to claim all the points and to see them going into 2018 leading the table by seven points. However Ilford pushed them all the way
Ilford: Chris Clark, Isaac Nkosi, Brad Gayer, Paul Oshin, Karolis Atutis (Billy Bungay 47’), Jonah Gregory (Capt), Sam Baffour (Alex Papaskea 75’), Liam Burgess, James Peagram, Tony Cookey, Alex Akanbi (Glen Warwick 69’).
Scorer – Tony Cookey (39’)
Redbridge: Lewis Greene, Courtney Homans, Billy Gollidge, Remi Nelson, Liam Thomas, Jonathan Mbamara, Eljay Worrell (Capt), Phillip Browne-Bampfoe (Jacob Dingli 58’), Lindisipho Mtyanda (Marcus Carter 75’), Brian Moses (Calvin Poku 84’), Reside Coxi-Sebastfao.
Scorer – Brian Moses (43’, 65’p)
Report by Scott Lanza/Photo by Philip Lindhurst @themotormen