Dominant Ilford held by Manor
PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 February 2016
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Essex Senior League: Ilford 0 Southend Manor 0
It proved to be a frustrating afternoon for Allan Fenn’s Ilford as, despite numerous attempts on goal, they were simply unable to break the deadlock in a game they dominated at Cricklefield Stadium.
The first chance of the game fell to the Foxes when a corner taken from the right by Harry Matthews provided a free header for Luke McLeavy, who nodded the ball onto the bar.
In fact, it would be Matthews who would provide Ilford’s main attacking threat throughout the game, as another corner before half time saw a towering header from Paul Clayton sent goalwards, only for Southend goalkeeper Ryan Karrer to produce a world-class save as he somehow clawed the ball out when the net looked set to bulge.
This routine continued and in first-half stoppage time it was captain Ajay Asknike’s turn to head over from about three yards after another Matthews’ cross.
The only opportunity to fall to Southend in the entire half came after 35 minutes, when Jasper Read played a great through ball from the left leaving Jeff Okirie through on goal, only for Ilford keeper Chris Clark to race quickly off his line to clear.
Aside from that the first half had clearly belonged to Ilford, who were looking to bounce back from their last-minute loss to Hullbridge in midweek.
The second half drama began on the hour mark when a Matthews corner, this time from the left, was cleared comfortably, only for the ball to find its way back to Matthews, who duly whipped the ball in, allowing Wale Odeboyin to flick the ball into the net.
Ilford’s wild celebrations were shortlived, though, as the assistant referee had raised his flag much to the protest of the home players, management and fans.
Just three minutes later, another Matthews corner from the right was headed over by Odeboyin as Ilford remained very much on the front foot.
It seemed inevitable that the Ilford pressure would eventually lead to a goal and on 70 minutes everyone in the ground thought this was the case.
Yet again, a Matthews corner was guided into the box where the ball bobbled about among a huge crowd of players and eventually bounced to Karolis Atutis.
The Lithuanian thumped the ball into the net, only for the referee to blow for a foul on a Southend Manor player during the melee in the box.
Again Ilford protested, again it was ignored.
That was to be the last serious chance of the game, as Ilford continued to pile forward, but ran out of steam in the end.
A mixture of poor Southend discipline and time wasting from keeper Karrer meant the game finished closer to 100 minutes rather than the regular 90.
Nonetheless, Ilford were unable to turn this extra time into a goal and no doubt Fenn and his entire squad will be disappointed that they were unable to turn their dominance into three points.
Ilford: Clark, Valionis (Warwick 77), Paliutis, Matthews (Wilson 89), Ashnike, McLeavy, Thomas, Clayton, W Odedoyin, Jones, Atutis (T Odedoyin 86). Unused subs: Nkosi, Skeggs.
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