Walton remains positive as Ilford slip

Foxes boss encouraged despite defeat

ILFORD made a disappointing return to action on Monday, losing 3-1 at home to Great Wakering Rovers, but manager Colin Walton was encouraged by his side’s display as they continue to battle against the drop.

With relegation-rivals Redbridge and Tilbury both winning, The Foxes have slipped to third from bottom and are now just three points clear of the drop zone.

However, with key fixtures to come against the struggling pair and bottom club Waltham Forest before the end of the month, Walton feels his side are getting closer to turning their season around. “It was an encouraging display on the back of a difficult run and I feel we’re making progress,” said the Ilford boss.

“They were probably a bit sharper than us; they’d played a behind-closed-doors friendly with Southend last week and that showed in the first 15 minutes and the last 15 minutes.

“We started slowly, although the game was quite even, but the luck that we have been so desperate for really showed itself up.”

Having fallen behind on 32 minutes when Lewis Sparrow converted from a corner, Ilford hit back seven minutes later when Wayne Grant was brought down in the box and stepped up to convert from the penalty spot.

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With two minutes to go until the break, the home side were awarded a second penalty for a foul on Junior Adeoye, but this time Grant fluffed his lines from 12 yards.

On the hour mark, a mishit effort from Dan Trenkel was cruelly deflected in off Andreas Pilides to restore the visitors lead.

The points were sealed five minutes from time through Ashley Hawkins.

Walton admitted he was a little cautious to see striker Grant take a second penalty in such quick succession and although he placed no blame on the player, felt the result could had been different had Grant scored.

“Normally I’d be a little cautious about the same player taking a second penalty, but he’d hit the first one so confidently,” said Walton.

“But the second one wasn’t a good penalty and their keeper almost fell on it.

“Going in at half time we could have had a springboard if we’d scored the penalty and then the second half would have been different.”

The Foxes travel to Oakside on Saturday hoping to complete a league double over Redbridge, having beaten the Motormen 2-0 in October.

Grant will have a new strike partner for the crunch clash as Ilford look to leapfrog their east London rivals by taking all three points.

“We’ve brought Wesley Hause in to give us more of a presence alongside Wayne Grant and he’ll go straight into the team on Saturday,” said Walton.

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