Ilford boss fumes as Foxes let two-goal lead slip again
Needham Market 3 Ilford 3
Ilford manager Colin Walton was left fuming with his team, as they let a two-goal lead slip for the second consecutive game at Needham Market on Saturday.
The Foxes were pegged back to a 3-3 draw by Romford last Tuesday, having been 3-1 up, and they suffered the same fate at Bloomfields at the weekend.
Nathan Stone gave the hosts the lead after just eight seconds, one of the fastest goals in Ryman League history, but Ilford fought back to level through Nathaniel Gordon on 14 minutes.
The visitors shocked Needham Market in the second period, as Gordon completed his hat-trick by the 65th minute and the Foxes looked set for a surprise win against the promotion hopefuls.
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But Kris Lee reduced the arrears with his first goal for the club on 75 minutes and Craig Parker completed the comeback two minutes from time, much to the frustration of Walton.
“I was devastated and furious. They are a good side, but they’re only as good as we let them be,” he said.
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“We played them a couple of weeks ago and we’ve watched them twice, so we knew exactly how they play.
“Conceding the quickest goal in Ryman League history is embarrassing and if they had scored again in the first five or 10 minutes it could have been a hammering, because they are one of the best side’s in the league going forward.
“But we played our way back into the game. We just went at them, even at 3-1 it could have been four. They had a few chances, but we should have won. I’m disappointed. I can take small positives, but overall it was a bad result.”
The Foxes have now given away 17 penalties this season, 12 of which have been scored.
As a result they have dropped several points throughout the campaign, including two on Saturday, but Ilford are unbeaten in six and Walton is confident of avoiding the drop.
“We’ll probably finish second from bottom, so the average onlooker will think we’re a bad team, but the last third of the season has been very good,” he said.
“We’ve got a seven point buffer over Waltham Forest and although they have a couple of games in hand, it’s going to be hard for them.
“We just have to keep on going in the run-in and make sure we get points on the board until we’re mathematically safe.”
Ilford face two games in three days, with third place Brentwood Town and leaders East Thurrock United the visitors to Cricklefield on Saturday and Monday respectively.
Walton admitted he would have been happy with three points from their consecutive games against the top three, but is hopeful his in-form forwards can cause problems of their own.
“Nathaniel Gordon and Adam Bolle played well on Saturday,” he said.
“Gordon looked sharpe, got his hat-trick and might have even got a fourth.
“They look like a dangerous strike force and will cause problems for anyone.”