Essex Senior League: Ilford 2 Hackney Wick 1
PUBLISHED: 10:30 28 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:30 28 January 2018
Ilford came from behind to claim the Essex Senior League points at Cricklefield on Saturday.
The home side invited local youngster Sunni, who has cerebral palsy, to lead the two teams out, with his family trying to raise £60,000 for a special operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
And the Foxes also gave a debut to 17-year-old Alan Zuqolli in the heart of their defence against bottom club Wick.
The visitors, having arrived on a four-game losing run, threatened to spoil the day as they took a first-half lead.
But Ilford dug deep in front of their newest fan and hit back through Liam Whipps to level after the restart before they snatched a late winner thanks to substitute Jamie Hart, who tweeted: “Back to business today, happy to grab the winner and put 3 more points onto the board!”
Brad Gayer added: “3 BIG points for the boys today, grind it out and deserved the win. Good seeing sold old faces.”
A third victory in four league outings lifted Ilford above Tower Hamlets to seventh in the table, ahead of Wednesday’s home match against Basildon United.
Wick, meanwhile, are five points adrift at the foot of the table and host nearest rivals Enfield at the Old Spotted Dog on Wednesday.
They tweeted: “Feel sick. 2 matches in a row where we felt we were the better team, scored first again and again conceded in the last minute to lose 2-1. When you’re at the bottom you don’t get the luck. We go again Wednesday.”
Ilford: Clark, Gayer, Burgess, Lockwood, Zuqolli, Nkosi, Nsamu, Rosetti, Rungay, Whipps, Cookey. Subbs: Anjourin, Hart, Perendes, Grant, Akambi.
Hackney Wick: Stuart, Birch, Syrmone, Fujah, Mpalampa, Gregory, Nicholson, McPherson, Tuadianru, Serratu, Sasaki. Subs: Herve, Manneh, Somo, Bamendell, Kwabeng.
*For more information about Sunni see https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/just4children/sunniboy.