Essex Senior League: Allan Fenn and Billy Cove's Ilford downed by Airportmen at Hargrave Park
PUBLISHED: 09:30 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:16 26 January 2018
Essex Senior League: Stansted 3 Ilford 1
Ilford suffered an 11th Essex Senior League defeat of the season after going down 3-1 at Stansted last night.
Allan Fenn and Billy Cove’s team were looking to make it back-to-back victories after defeating West Essex 2-0 last Wednesday.
Both Stansted and the Foxes were without a game on Saturday with the poor weather seeing their respective fixtures against Woodford Town (2017) and Great Wakering Rovers postponed.
And if it wasn’t for the fine work of the Airportmen staff in the hours leading up to the game, then this clash might not have gone ahead.
Despite the heavy pitch, Ilford got proceedings underway and created the first chance in the 13th minute.
Liam Whipps’ free kick was only cleared to Glody Nsamu and despite fashioning half a yard of space, he curled over from just outside of the area.
Seven minutes later and Stansted attacked with Ilford’s Isaac Nkosi giving away a needless free kick around 20-yards-out and it proved crucial.
Jack Folan stepped up and curled the set-piece around the wall and Foxes goalkeeper Chris Clark was unable to keep it out.
The Foxes replied quickly, though, with Alex Skeva chasing a lost cause and winning the ball back high up the pitch.
He cut inside and curled a cross into the path of Tony Cookey and the ex-London Bari forward headed past Laurence Whymark from close range.
It was the perfect response from Ilford, but Stansted’s pace in attack was still causing them problems and it showed again just past the half an hour mark.
A lack of communication at the back saw Julian Lloyd race through and he managed to fire past Clark to ensure the Blues went back in front with 31 played.
With the pitch cutting up badly, passing football wasn’t the order of the day at Hargrave Park, but it didn’t stop ex-Romford man Paul Preston nearly scoring a wonder goal in the 39th minute.
Preston dribbled past three opponents on the right before forcing Clark into a decent save, the rebound fell for Lloyd and he stabbed towards goal, but Nkosi got back to clear before Clark grabbed the loose ball.
The half time whistle occurred soon after with Stansted leading, but only after both sets of players had a slight coming together.
It took some time before the first chance of the second period occurred, but Ilford went close to equalising when the impressive Whipps whipped a free kick across the face of goal and it took a deflection before going out for a corner.
The Foxes were unable to do anything with the resulting set-piece, as Stansted continued to stand firm at the back.
Fenn and Cove made a change in the 63rd minute with Alex Akambi replacing George Whitelock, but the Airportmen were managing the game well.
Ilford did squander a good opening 14 minutes from time when Skeva received the ball with the Foxes in a two against two situations.
But instead of passing to Akambi, the forward tried his luck from 35-yards and scuffed his effort well wide.
It was his last action of the game as Bill Rungay replacing him seconds later before the fourth goal of the night occurred.
Former Ilford winger Ryan Ramsey came back to haunt his old side, as he cut inside Brad Gater before drilling into the top corner with 10 minutes left.
The goal sparked the Foxes into life and Whipps saw an effort deflected onto the crossbar with 84 on the clock before Gregory had an effort cleared away from goal, but the referee soon blew for full time to hand Stansted a deserved win.
After beating West Essex last time out, it was a disappointing evening for Ilford and they will seek a response at home to Hackney Wick on Saturday.
Ilford: Clark; Baffour, Nkosi, Gregory, Gater; Whitelock (Akambi), Nsamu, Lockwood, Whipps; Skeva (Rungay 77), Cookey.
Unused substitutes: Morgan, Warwick, Hart.