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Late own goal saves Ilford

Ilford took on Sporting Bengal at Cricklefield Stadium (pic: Ellie Hoskins) Ilford took on Sporting Bengal at Cricklefield Stadium (pic: Ellie Hoskins)

Luke Robertson at Cricklefield Stadium
Sunday, March 16, 2014
8:30 AM

Essex Senior League: Ilford 2 Sporting Bengal 2

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Below-par Ilford were rescued by a late own goal as honours finished even at Cricklefield Stadium.

Ilford got off to a poor start when Sporting broke down the right flank and Bobby Redwood curled the ball into the far corner to give the visitors an early advantage.

The home side were really struggling to get going and could barely string two passes together, but they had a couple of breaks which came to nothing.

Sporting, on the other hand, were looking really threatening and had a real chance to double their advantage when Yasser Rashid picked up the ball deep in the Ilford half and ran towards Michael Green’s goal before eventually screwing his shot wide.

Rashid got the ball on the edge of the area once again minutes later, but put his shot over the bar this time.

And Ilford boss Martin Haywood was forced to make two changes before half time as Lewis Rix and Jack Fowler came off injured before Sporting had two similar chances to extend their lead with one-on-one breaks, but fired into Green’s arms both times.

Ilford looked much more impressive after the restart, pressing better, and this pressure paid off when they equalised.

A good cross was played in from the right hand side and Ryan Gardiner headed it home from six yards out to level.

Sporting responded really well, though, and began controlling possession again before regaining the lead.

The visitors broke through the Ilford defence and fired an initial shot straight at Green, with a follow-up attempt also blocked before Rashid slotted home at the third time of asking.

From then on the game became very scrappy, barring a free-kick from Ilford which went just wide.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men by another injury but grabbed a late share of the spoils from a corner. on the left.

Eden Nelson made a nuisance of himself in the goalmouth before a Sporting defender turned the ball into his own net.

Ilford pushed for a winner and Nelson was brilliantly denied by the Sporting goalkeeper from close range. But Sporting might have won it also as they saw two late shots saved by Green.

Ilford: Green, Beveney, Brien, Fowler (Haywood 35), Candy, Hilton, Rix (Nelson 35), Pattison, Hoxhaj, Gardiner, Harriot.

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